One in Four Teen Girls Infected
Special Report - March 14, 2008
An alarming new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the dangers of premarital sexual activity for young women and the need for an increased emphasis on abstinence-until-marriage education in our nation’s schools. According to the CDC, an estimated one in four young women (ages of 14 to 19) in the United States is currently infected with at least one of four common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis. The CDC study, which was presented on March 11 at the 2008 National STD Prevention Conference in Chicago, Illinois, is described by the CDC as the “first to examine the combined national prevalence of common STDs among adolescent women…and provides the clearest picture to date of the overall STD burden in adolescent women.”
The study also found that young African American women were the “most severally affected” by STD infections, with 48 percent infected with at least one common STD, compared to 20 percent of young white women. The two most common STDs among all young women, according to the CDC, are HPVan STD linked to cervical cancerand chlamydia, which can damage a woman’s reproductive organs and cause infertility. Interestingly, two of the four common STDs listed by the CDC study, HPV and genital herpes, are transmitted not only through sexual intercourse but also through contact with infected skin areas that are not covered by a condom.
“Today’s data demonstrate the significant health risk STDs pose to millions of young women in this country every year,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “Given that the health effects of STDs for womenfrom infertility to cervical cancerare particularly severe, STD screening, vaccination and other prevention strategies for sexually active women are among our highest public health priorities.”
Responding to the CDC report, Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council (NCFPC), said, “The high rate of STD infections among sexually active teenage girls in this country is alarming. STD screenings and vaccines are not enough to stop this growing problem. We need a renewed focus on the one prevention strategy that helps young people protect themselves against STD infection from the outset, as well as from the emotional and psychological damage that often results from premarital sex. That strategy is sexual abstinence until marriage and fidelity within marriage.”
Brooks continued, “Young women and men deserve prevention strategies that really work to protect their complete well being. They need to hear that the best way to avoid an STD is to postpone sexual activity until marriage.”
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.