Twenty-Five Percent of Teenage Girls Have One or More STDs

No, that's accurate:

The first national study of four common sexually transmitted diseases among girls and young women has found that one in four are infected with at least one of the diseases, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

Nearly half the African-Americans in the study of teenagers ages 14 to 19 were infected with at least one of the diseases monitored in the study -- human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common parasite.

The 50 percent figure compared with 20 percent of white teenagers, health officials and researchers said at a news conference at a scientific meeting in Chicago.

The two most common sexually transmitted diseases, or S.T.D.'s, among all the participants tested were HPV, at 18 percent, and chlamydia, at 4 percent, according to the analysis, part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Each disease can be serious in its own way. HPV, for example, can cause cancer and genital warts.

Among the infected women, 15 percent had more than one of the diseases.

Since this is a new method, one can't really compare data to previous years, but it would seem that teaching kids about condoms might be a good idea.

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Although, from what I understand, HPV can be transmitted even with proper condom use since it only requires skin to skin contact, which still occurs when wearing a condom.

From my understanding, condoms help significantly (so they should, of course, be used), but are not as effective against HPV as, say, HIV.

MRW: Correct, but that's where this comes in: "The disease agency also recommends that women ages 11 to 26 be fully vaccinated against HPV."

I wonder what, if you could vaccinate everybody and get all teenagers to use condoms every time, the rate of HPV would be? It wouldn't go to zero- the vaccination doesn't protect against some forms and condoms offer incomplete protection... but would it be like 20% of current rates, or like 0.02%?

Since HPV is the disease in such a large percentage of cases, it argues fairly strongly that HPV is a serious public health problem, and that vaccinations should be mandatory before admittance to a public school, in the same way that other vaccinations are required.

What I want to know is: what about the teenage boys? I believe HPV has been implicated in other cancers as well. I think they should be vaccinating the boys as well as the girls, and not just for this reason. Is the CDC also going to release data on boys?

While this is alarming data, and it does indicate we need to do more to educate and protect our kids, I worry that just publishing data on girls will cause some people to get the wrong message.

The point is, girls and young women need to have regular health care visits AND vaccinations. STD's can be prevented, and many can be treated before causing damage, if caught early.
Also, encouraging young people to have romantic relationships is a good way to get them to take precautions with sex, apparently. (Teens in romantic relationships are more comfortable discussing sex, and taking preventative measures.) I can't find the study right now, but read an article about it recently.

By monoboyzmom (not verified) on 13 Mar 2008 #permalink