Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One-quarter of teen girls have STDs

This  is just shocking.
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.
And yet, the social engineers on the religious right will still tell you, with a straight face, that abstinence-only instruction is the only sex education that teenagers need.  No information about preventing pregnancy and STDs - they prefer to pretend that teenagers are not sexually mature beings for whom ignorance can deadly.  Many of them actually believe that unwanted pregnancies and STDs are a fitting punishment for having sex outside of marriage.
I would like to believe that these data will be a wake-up call, but I know better.