A Lot of US Girls Have STDs

That’s the latest from a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: one in four girls and young women are infected with at least one sexually transmitted disease. According to an article in the New York Times, the study was the first ever to collect nationwide data on the most common sexually transmitted diseases — including human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and the parasite trichomoniasis — as opposesd to testing for a certain disease among a specific population. Nearly half of the African-American teenagers tested ages 14 to 19 had at least one of the diseases, compared to 20 percent of their white counterparts. That could mean about 3.2 million teenage women total are infected with at least one STD. The most common diseases are HPV and chlamydia, and among the infected, about 15 percent had more than one STD. The findings are the result of a 2003-2004 survey in which 838 participants were chosen at random and directly tested. The results have many criticizing the Bush administration’s abstinence-only program and calling for greater screening and prevention, including the HPV vaccine.

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