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November 26th, 2009
STDs Scarily Common in American Teen Girls

A surprising new statistic has been released by the government claiming that at least 1 in 4 American teenage girls have had or currently have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Many of these girls are infected following their first sexual encounter.

“Sexual health is an important part of the overall health and well-being of teenagers,” says Dr. Sami L. Cottlieb, author of the study from the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, “For too long, we as a nation have been far too squeamish about sexual health issues for teens, but we owe it to our kids to get over it.”

The study can be found in the December issue of Pediatrics published online on November 23.

Researchers tested samples provided by 838 teen girls ranging in age from 14 to 19 to look for gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, Herpes type 2 and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Out of the participants, researchers found that 24.1% of the girls had an STD and among the girls who had previously had sex, 37.7% had an STD. The most common infection was HPV at 18.3% and Chlamydia at 3.9%.

Researchers also found that 19.2% of the girls developed an STD in the year after the first sexual experience with only one partner.

The study suggests that to counteract these problems, teenagers should be given an early sexual education while 11 and 12 year old girls should be getting the HPV vaccine. This vaccine can prevent cervical cancer. Other options for treatment or prevention include Canadian prescription drugs such as Floxin, Zovarix and others that treat bacterial infections.

“Adolescent girls need early access to comprehensive sex education, and barrier contraceptives,” says Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University. “This will not increase sexual activity, but it will attenuate the resultant harms.”

A recent report from the CDC provided more statistics to add to this report.

Of the 1.5 million reported Chlamydia and Gonorrhea cases in the United States, teen girls from age 15 – 19 made of the largest percentage followed by women from age 20 – 24.

In 2008, around 1.2 million cases of Chlamydia were reported along with 337,000 cases of gonorrhoea in the United States.

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