Tuesday, March 11, 2008

CDC Finds "Alarming" Rise in Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Girls

One out of four teenage girls in the U.S. is infected with at least one type of sexually transmitted disease, including the killer cervical cancer, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The data in the survey, which was released March 11th, are from 2003 and 2004, so it's not known if the problem is worse now or about the same. The CDC found that more than three million girls aged 14-19 are infected with the leading STDs:
* bacterial chlamydia (4 percent)
* trichomoniasis, a common parasite (2.5 percent)
* herpes simplex virus (2 percent)
* human papillomavirus (HPV, 18 percent)

HPV can cause cervical cancer and genital warts, among other things. The infections from these and other agents can cause problems ranging from pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy, a potentially fatal occurrence in which a woman's fertilized egg grows outside the womb, often in one of the fallopian tubes, and continues to grow there.

Fifteen percent of the women surveyed had more than one STD.

Black teen girls had the highest infection rate: 48 percent. The rate was 20 percent for whites.

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