STDs Rising Among American Teenage Girls

A recent study by the United States Center for Disease Control shows that there are more than three million teenage girls who are infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), making one in every four female teenagers currently infected.

What is more alarming is that the most common diseases found in these teens are also the most harmful. This report published on early March 2008 at a convention in Chicago has caused alarm for health workers and STD prevention advocates.

According to the report, nearly half of African-American girls have the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can ultimately lead to the development of cervical cancer. HPV is also found in nearly 20 percent of Mexican-Americans and Caucasians that were studied.

Half of the interviewees in the study admitted having sex, yet nearly 40 percent of these teenagers have STD. The researchers have also found out that many of them believed that only intercourse is considered sex, while many diseases can also be transmitted through oral sex and other types of intimate behavior.

According to Dr. Margaret Blythe, an adolescent medicine specialist at Indiana University School of Medicine and head of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on adolescence, "The results seem overwhelming because you’re talking about nearly half of the sexually-experienced teens at any one time having evidence of an STD." She also mentions that the study highlights what doctors see everyday.

Meanwhile, the director of CDC’s division of STD prevention, Dr. John Douglas, mentioned that these studies were the first of its kind in the United States, as well as the first to look into the prevalence of STD among the controversial age group of teenage girls. It was also revealed in the report that many of the girls did not take screening tests because they believe STD cannot happen to them.

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