Sexually Transmitted Disease Vaccines

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Last reviewed
September 30, 2023
Content Overview
Sexually transmitted disease clinical research in 2023 includes chlamydia, herpes, HIV, HPV, gonorrhea, mpox, and syphilis vaccines.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Vaccines 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) says effective vaccines are available for three viral STIs: hepatitis B, HPV, and mpox. A study published in February 2023 concluded that STIs (Chlamydia, gonorrhea, Herpes, HIV/AIDS, Mpox, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis, and syphilis) cause substantial lifetime quality-adjusted life-years lost among infected women. On July 24, 2023, the WHO announced its latest guidance (4th edition) on STIs, including point-of-care tests and target product profiles. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines that can prevent certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) caused by infections from bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) work with genomic sequencing to accelerate STD vaccine research, empowering the development of preventive and therapeutic vaccines.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Vaccines

Chlamydia vaccine candidates continue in pre-clinical research. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI.

Ebola vaccines are approved for use in Africa. In July 2015, after Liberia's third and fourth Ebola outbreaks, cases were attributed to sexual transmission.

Epstein-Barr Virus vaccine and monoclonal antibody candidates are conducting early-stage clinical studies. 

Gonorrhea vaccine candidates continue in clinical studies. Doxycycline post-exposure prophylaxis (doxy-PEP) is recommended in California for certain people, and meningococcal vaccine evaluations continue.

Hepatitis Vaccines are safe, effective, and authorized in 2023.

Herpes vaccine candidates continue in clinical studies in 2023, including one mRNA vaccine.

HIV vaccine candidates are conducting clinical studies in 2023.

HPV Vaccines are approved and offered in most countries. HPV vaccination programs that began pre-pandemic reached the same number of girls in 2022, with mean coverages reaching 67% in high-income countries and 55% in low- and middle-income countries.

Mpox Vaccines are authorized. However, research in 2023 indicates that mpox vaccinations are not 100% protective.

Syphilis Vaccines continue in clinical studies in 2023.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

The U.S. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) National Strategic Plan 2021-2025 (STI Plan) sets a vision for the nation with goals, objectives, and strategies to prevent and control STIs in the U.S. Since 2000, the number of STDs in the U.S. has significantly increased. For example, on April 11, 2023, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis infections reached more than 2.5 million people. On April 11, 2023, the STD Surveillance Data for 2021 indicates that STIs have reached a record high for an eighth consecutive year. The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published on June 6, 2023, data indicating record levels of chlamydia (24.3%), gonorrhea (50.3%), and syphilis (up 15.2%) diagnoses in 2022. There were over 400 diagnoses of STIs made each day among young people. In the U.S., from 2014 to 2018, the rates of reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis, congenital syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia rose 71%, 185%, 63%, and 19%, respectively. 

The U.S. NIH announced in April 2023 that taking the oral antibiotic doxycycline within three days after unprotected sex reduced the risk of sexually transmitted infections among those at increased risk. In addition, the DoxyPEP phase 3 clinical study examined the incidence of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis and found that doxycycline reduced the risk of STIs caused by certain types of bacteria by 66%. The peer-reviewed NEJM journal published the findings from Original Research on April 6, 2023, led by the University of California, San Francisco, in a phase 4 clinical trial. On April 28, 2923, the California Department of Public Health released guidance for healthcare providers recommending doxyPEP to men who have sex with men or transgender women who have had at least one bacterial STI in the past 12 months.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Tests

"Genomic surveillance could provide a step change in our ability to understand and inform surveillance, prevention, and treatment strategies for a broad range of STIs," senior study author Nicolas Thomson, Ph.D., commented in a press release on September 15, 2023. The global STD diagnostics market was valued at $9.25 billion in 2022, and it is predicted to reach $18.59 billion by 2032, with a CAGR of 7.23% from 2023 to 2032, reported Grand View Research in August 2023. The U.S. CDC publishes STD testing information as of April 2023 for GonorrheaSyphilis, and Chlamydia. On February 14, 2023, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Issued Final Recommendation Statement on Serologic Screening for Genital Herpes Infection. Based on the evidence, the Task Force does not recommend serologic screening for genital Herpes in people without signs or symptoms. Tests for these STDs can be ordered at And the CDC's GetTested online resource helps people locate free and confidential STD testing sites. 

Sexually Transmitted Disease Health Impact

A study presented the average lifetime number of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) lost per STD infection. The estimated average number of QALYs lost due to Genital Herpes (0.05 QALYs) is smaller than that due to HIV (5.80 QALYs), syphilis (0.09 QALYs), and gonorrhea (among women, 0.09 QALYs). In comparison, the burden of Genital Herpes is more significant than that of per gonorrhea infection among men (0.0015-0.002 QALYs). At the population level, the estimated total quality-of-life burden due to Genital Herpes (33,100 QALYs) exceeds that of syphilis (13,300 QALYs), mainly due to the higher incidence.