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Today is all about spreading the love, but make sure you practice safe sex when you do.

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According to new government reports, there are nearly 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections each year in this country. Those cases incur billions of dollars in medical costs, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers are describing the rise in transmissions as an “ongoing, severe, STI epidemic” that is sweeping the nation. In fact, the U.S. has the highest rate of STDs of any nation in the industrialized world, with roughly 110 million total incidents of infection in 2008. And the infections are hitting young adults the hardest: Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 years old account for just 25 percent of the nation’s sexually active population, but as much as half of all sexually transmitted infections.

Yikes!

Most shockingly, the human papillomavirus, or HPV, was the most common STI observed by the researchers, compromising 71 percent of all the current infections (including new and old infections), and 72 percent of new infections.

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And the epidemic is being driven almost entirely by two bugs: HPV, and Chlamydia. While Chlamydia is easily curable, HPV that can trigger cervical, oral, anal, and penile cancers, and cause genital warts.

Scared yet?

So think twice this Valentine’s Day and spread chocolate instead of Chlamydia. Or worse.

SOURCE: Think Progress | Huffington Post

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