One-in-four girls aged 14-19 in the United States have at least one of the five most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), based on data analyzed by the CDC. These five STDs are Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes, Trichomonas, and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This means that about 3,000,000 girls in this age group in the U.S. have one of these STDs.
So what does this mean? It means we need more adolescent STD prevention education. Not only should education programs focus on delaying sexual initiation, but kids need to learn about safer sex and correct condom use. Also, we should encourage vaccinating against HPV, the STD most commonly found in this research, before sexual activity starts.
Previous studies have shown most parents believe their daughters are starting sexual activity later than they actually are. As parents, we need to realize these statistics are real and the serious health risks these STDs pose to our children. Communication about sex needs to start in the home much earlier and more consistently. Hopefully, through education, communication, and medical intervention an impact to these staggering statistics can be achieved.
All information given is not a substitute for the advice of your pediatrician, primary care provider or trained health professional. Always consult with your pediatrician or health care professional.