Latest Study: 1 in 4 Teen Girls Have STDs

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, November 23, 2009

Latest Study: 1 in 4 Teen Girls Have STDs

While this new study doesn't show an increase in the percentage of teen girls who have contracted an Sexually Transmitted Disease (see my post from March of 2008 here), there isn't any improvement either. What I found most interesting in this new study is that of the sexually experienced girls studied, 37.7% had developed an STD. And within a year of having a first sexual experience, it was shown that 1 in 5 girls will develop an STD (19.2%).

Putting the morals and values argument aside for a moment, it seems that these STD rates, in and of themselves, make a great case for teen abstinence.

As many as one in four U.S. teenage girls have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD), many infected soon after their first sexual encounter, a new government report shows.

"The high burden of STDs among teen girls reminds us that we can't ignore this," said study author Dr. Sami L. Gottlieb, from the division of sexually transmitted disease prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention.

"Sexual health is an important part of the overall health and well-being of teenagers," Gottlieb added. "For too long, we as a nation have been far too squeamish about sexual health issues for teens, but we owe it to our kids to get over it."

The report is published online Nov. 23 and in the December print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, Gottlieb's team collected data on 838 teen girls aged 14 to 19. Using samples provided by the teens, the researchers looked for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, herpes simplex virus type 2 and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The study authors found that 24.1 percent of the girls had one of these STDs and among girls who were sexually experienced, 37.7 percent had an STD. HPV was the most common infection (18.3 percent), followed by chlamydia (3.9 percent).

Moreover, in the year after having their first sexual experience and with only one sex partner, 19.2 percent of the teens developed an STD, Gottlieb's group found.

Source: U.S. News & World Report