Tuesday, March 11, 2008

1 in 4 teens has an STD

As a follow up to an earlier post showing that abstinence education does not curb teen sex, the Associated press reports 1 in 4 teen girls has an STD.

At least one in four teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease, suggests a first-of-its-kind federal study that startled some adolescent-health experts.

Some doctors said the numbers might be a reflection of both abstinence-only sex education and teens' own sense of invulnerabilty. Because some sexually transmitted infections can cause infertility and cancer, U.S. health officials called for better screening, vaccination and prevention.

Only about half of the girls in the study acknowledged having sex. Some teens define sex as only intercourse, yet other types of intimate behavior including oral sex can spread some diseases.

Among those who admitted having sex, the rate was even more disturbing — 40 percent had an STD.

What's really interesting is the cultural angle:

Disease rates were significantly higher among black girls — nearly half had at least one STD, versus 20 percent among both whites and Mexican-Americans.

Does make me wonder what's behind that. I'd think it would be more than socioeconomic factors alone. Curious.

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