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One in Four Teen Girls Have STDs
Date:11/23/2009

Almost 20 percent get infected within one year of starting to have sex, CDC report says

MONDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- 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.

To counter these problems, teens need to have early sex education, Gottlieb noted. "The vast majority of people have sex for the first time during their teenage years, so we need them to be prepared," she said.

In addition, Gottlieb believes that 11- and 12-year-old girls should get the HPV vaccine. "We have an effective and
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