The Lancet Digital Health | August 1, 2021Read the Publication
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that one in five people in the USA had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in 2018. Although widespread and a substantial threat to the health of the US population, STIs have not received the attention required to prevent continued transmission. Despite rising rates of STIs over the past decade, CDC funding for STI prevention has not changed, and, when accounting for inflation, has reduced by 40% between 2003 and 2020.2 We are members of the Committee on the Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The committee was commissioned by the CDC to review current public health strategies and provide recommendations on future programmes, policy, and research. In March, 2021, the committee released a consensus report with a central recommendation of embracing innovation as a means to improve sexual health. One innovation is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance STI prevention and control. Because of the rapid growth in AI applications in health, we believe that AI can be used as part of a solution to address STI epidemics.