STI Incidence in Adolescents

STI Incidence in Adolescents

Data highlight

There is no singular rate for all Sexually Transmitted Infections among Adolescents in Oklahoma or the US. The most comprehensive source on Adolescent STI incidence is the Adolescent Sexual Health in Oklahoma report, which includes new diagnosis rates for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV. 

The teen chlamydia rate in Oklahoma is nearly 1.5 times higher than the national average.


Number of new cases of chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea per 100,000 people ages 15-19. 


0 %







Sexually transmitted infection (STI) incidence in adolescents refers to the number of new cases of sexually transmitted infections within 15-19 year olds. It is a measure of the rate at which new infections occur.

Understanding STI incidence is crucial, as it helps in monitoring the spread of infections, assessing the effectiveness of prevention programs, and identifying populations that may be at higher risk.

Why we care

Oklahoma has one of the highest instances of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the country, and a sizable portion affects teens. 

In 2021 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data showed nearly half of all new STI infections occur among the nation’s youth, with 45.5% of all new STI cases being among young people ages 15-24 in 2018.

STIs can have an adverse impact on adolescents mental and physical health. The negative impact of STIs on mental health may come from factors such as stigma, anxiety, and concerns about relationships.

Oklahoma struggles with other STIs, including chlamydia. 1.84% of women between the ages of 15-44 have chlamydia, ranking Oklahoma 41 out of 50 states.

STI rates are on the rise in the US. Monitoring STI rates in the teen population helps us to understand the prevalence of infections and design targeted prevention and education programs to help reduce spread. High STI rates among adolescents underscores the importance of accessible, comprehensive, and confidential healthcare services for those aged 15-19. Regular testing leads to early detection and timely treatment, which is key to preventing spread and getting ahead of potential complications. 

Physically, untreated STIs can lead to serious health complications, such as infertility and increased vulnerability to other infections. For example, Oklahoma ranks 48 out of the 50 states for reception of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. A largely preventable disease which is linked to cervical cancer. This is due to stigma around the vaccine, as some believe that being vaccinated against STIs will encourage risky sexual behaviors. 

To combat the spread of STIs, comprehensive adolescent sex education is essential, particularly about the importance of condoms in STI prevention.

Oklahoma needs a comprehensive and medically accurate sex education curriculum. Research shows that abstinence-only curricula does not meet the fundamental needs of youth who have already engaged in sexual activity or the knowledge of tactics of how to refuse sex from unwanted sexual advances.

Teens need to be able to access birth control and barrier methods to make wise decisions before having sex (See Teen Birth Rate). Title X (“Title Ten”) is a federal grant for clinics to provide family planning services like contraception, STI testing, and STI treatment regardless of ability to pay, citizenship, or parental permission. 


Much of the data in this article was collected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in STI prevention and care, including reduced screening (CDC). 

What we can do:

This issue brief was written by Metriarch staff as part of our Data Lookbook


Suggested citation
 Metriarch. “Adolescent Health,” Data Lookbook (2024). URL:

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