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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Affecting Teen Girls

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 12:22 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Sexually Transmitted Disease, Teenagers, Teen Pregnancy, STDs, CDC, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis

Chlamydia rates are soaring among teen girls, especially African-Americans finds this CDC report.

Teen Girls Affected

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IMAGE SOURCE: CDC chart on chlamydia rates from Web site

There are almost 19 million cases of sexually transmitted disease diagnosed in the U.S. every year, almost half among 15 to 24 year olds.

A new federal report says teenage girls account for the largest number of cases.

The report considers the 1.5 million newly diagnosed cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the U.S. in 2008, and finds that the largest number, more than 409,531 occurred in teen girls ages 15 to 19.

African-American females continue to be disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted diseases (STD), more so than any other racial or ethnic group, with a 20 times higher rate of gonorrhea than among whites.

Adolescent males also have a similar prevalence of STDs but for females the health consequences are more severe such as infertility, pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy. Often the cases of STD go undetected, leading an estimated 24,000 women to become infertile each year in the U.S.

Socio-economic barriers to obtaining quality health care means there are fewer effective prevention and treatment services in local communities.

The federal data is reported in the Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2008 report, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of STD Prevention.

Among the findings:

* Gonorrhea rates among African-Americans were 20 times higher than among Caucasians, even though blacks represent about 12 percent of the population. They account for 71 percent of reported gonorrhea cases, 48 percent of chlamydia and 49 percent of syphilis cases.

* Men having sex with men accounted for about 63 percent of the 13,500 cases of syphilis in 2008. Syphilis, once on the verge of elimination began re-emerging in 2001 and by 2008, there were 13,500 cases reported, an 18 percent hike from the year before. Syphilis rates among women increased 36 percent from 2007 to 2008.

* Chlamydia rates are higher in the south and effect more young women than men with a total of 1.2 million cases reported in 2008.

"We cannot ignore the glaring racial disparities in rates of STDs, particularly when we consider the hard truth that gonorrhea rates among African-Americans are 20 times those of whites," Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of STD Prevention, said in a news release.

The CDC’s Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention says more needs to be done to prevent unintended long-term health issues.

“We know adolescent girls and minorities are most impacted by STDs. So it is up to us as a nation, to reach out to them and ensure we are providing the necessary prevention, testing and treatment services. Taking these critical steps now could help reduce the number of couples who may not be able have children in the future because of a previously undiagnosed, yet treatable, STD.”

A study last year found one in four teenage girls had a sexually transmitted disease. #


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