Priority Area: Infectious Disease - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Burden of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a leading category of reported communicable diseases in the State, with Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis accounting for most. Estimating the true incidence of STD cases is difficult because often infected persons do not have noticeable symptoms that would cause them to be tested, routine screening programs are not widespread, and viral STDs are not reportable. These limitations lead to undercounting of STDs. In a 1998 report, a panel of experts conducted a study for the Kaiser Family Foundation, and calculated that the actual number of new cases of STDs is approximately 15 million annually with 1 million new STD cases in New York State alone.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, "Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2008", found that women and minorities in particular are more likely to have STDs. Nearly 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, and almost half of those affect 15- to 24-year-olds. STDs, including Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and human papillomavirus, significantly impact the health of New York State (NYS) citizens, pose a substantial economic burden, and contribute to reproductive health problems (e.g., infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy).

Sexual abstinence is the only way to prevent acquiring STDs. There are ways to reduce the risks of being infected with STDs in sexually active persons. For these reasons, STD control programs across NYS that conduct public health activities aim to: educate the public on safer sex behaviors; prevent the spread of STDs through counseling and treatment of those infected; and provide health services to partners of persons infected with STDs.


  • By the year 2013, reduce the proportion of adolescents and young adults in New York State (NYS) with Chlamydia trachomatis infections to:
    • No more than 3.0 percent in females aged 15 to 24 years attending family planning clinics.* (Baseline: 5.0 percent)**
    • No more than 3.0 percent in females aged 15 to 24 years attending STD clinics.*(Baseline: 12.2 percent) **
    • o No more than 3.0 percent in males aged 15 to 24 years attending STD clinics.* (Baseline: 15.7 percent) **
  • By the year 2013, reduce the gonorrhea case rate in NYS to no more than 19.0 per 100,000.* (Baseline: 90.7 per 100,000 population) **
  • By the year 2013, eliminate sustained domestic transmission of primary and secondary syphilis in NYS*:
    • Target: 0.2 cases per 100,000 population* (Baseline: 3.2 per 100,000 population) **

* Healthy People 2010 Objective

** Data Source: STD Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Indicators for Tracking Public Health Priority Areas

Each community's progress towards reaching these Prevention Agenda Objectives will be tracked so members can see how close each community is to meeting the objectives.

Data and Statistics

Annual STD Statistical Abstracts: Links to New York State Department of Health Annual Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reports.

Strategies – The Evidence Base for Effective Interventions

Reports and Resources

Return on Investment


Partners include federal, state, and local STD programs and community partner organizations that are engaged in STD prevention and control activities.

More Information

Bureau of STD Control
Room 1168, Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12237
Telephone: 518-474-3598
Fax: 518-474-3491