People in U.S. Three Times as Likely To Experience Adverse Effects, Including Premature Death, Because of Sexual Activity, Study Says
People in the United States are three times as likely as people living in other developed countries to experience premature death or other "adverse effects" as the result of sexual activity, according to a study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, Reuters reports (Reuters, 1/26). Dr. Shahul Ebrahim and colleagues at CDC used national data and published research on sexual health, reproduction, infectious diseases, hospital admissions, births and deaths to calculate "disability adjusted life years," a measure of disability or early death, according to Bloomberg News. The researchers found that 20 million U.S. residents had adverse effects related to sexual activity -- including infections, infertility and abortions -- in 1998, and nearly 30,000 U.S. residents died as a result of adverse effects from sexual activity that same year. Women were "most severely affected" by sexual activity, according to the researchers, Bloomberg News reports (Bloomberg News, 1/27). Women accounted for about 62% of the health problems associated with sexual activity, with cervical cancer and AIDS-related causes being the leading reasons for death among women (Washington Post, 1/27). AIDS-related causes were the leading sources of sexual activity-related death among men, according to the researchers. The researchers estimated that about two million people in the United States each year have their lives shortened due to illnesses or disabilities related to sexual activity, according to Bloomberg News. The researchers also found that about 45 million U.S. residents have genital herpes and 20 million have human papillomavirus, the primary cause of cervical cancer. The researchers concluded, "Given the size and chronicity of HIV, HPV and other hepatitis virus epidemics, the overall health burden related to sexual behavior is unlikely to decline rapidly in the coming years" (Bloomberg News, 1/27). Ebrahim added, "All of it is totally preventable, and that's the message" (Reuters, 1/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.