Alarming rates of STDs among teenage girls

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A US study found that one in four teenage girls aged 14 to 19 has a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Nearly half the African-Americans in the study were infected by one of the diseases. The survey, part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, did not ask about syphilis or gonorrhea, so it is likely the STD rates are actually higher.

The most common STD, at 18 percent, was HPV, the human papillomavirus. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. A vaccine is now available to prevent HPV infection, but right-wing leaders such as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Leslie Unruh, executive director of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, have opposed the vaccination of young people because they believe it might encourage sex before marriage.

In addition, researchers (Saewyc, Bearinger, Blum & Resnick, 1999) have previously found that lesbian teens are at greater risk for pregnancy.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds to alarming rates of STDs among teenage girls, and its Executive Director, Matt Foreman says –

“These shocking figures prove that the Bush administration’s rejection of science-based sex education in public schools and its obsessive support of homophobic abstinence-only programs – now totaling $1.5 billion – has not only been a complete waste of money, it has clearly endangered the health of teenage girls.

“It’s long past time for Congress to end all abstinence-only funding and to insist that every young person in this country have access to honest sex education that focuses on health, not moral judgments.

“And, in light of the extremely high rates of HPV infection, it’s also long past time for right-wing leaders to drop their outrageous opposition to the vaccination of young women.”

Source: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, USA

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