A federal study released on March 11 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one in four teenage girls is infected with an STI. The study was announced at the 2008 National STD Prevention Conference and is the first to assess the combined national prevalence of common STDs among adolescent females.
The new research, which used sampling data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, shows that one in four young women between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States are infected with at least one of the four most common STDs: the human papillomavirus (HPV), Chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis. The two most common were HPV (18 percent) and Chlamydia (4 percent). The study also found that young African-American women were disproportionately impacted with almost half (48%) having one of the infections.1
In a separate study, the CDC found that most young women between the ages of 15 and 24 do not receive both contraceptive and STD/HIV services (only 39 percent had both). An additional study found that very few women seeking emergency contraception are screened for STDs (only 27 percent were screened for Chlamydia or gonorrhea and 12 percent had a positive test result).2
On March 13, the CDC released New Surveillance Slide Set on Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM), a data set which is based on reported cases of HIV from 2001 to 2003 in 33 states. The number of HIV/AIDS cases increased among all groups of men who have sex with men, with young African-American men between the ages of 13 and 24 being disproportionately impacted (a 74% increase from 928 cases in 2001 to 1,618 cases in 2005).3
Finally, at the end of March, the CDC released the 2006 HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report: Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas.4 According to this report there were 52,878 reported cases of HIV in the United States and its dependent areas in 2006. This number is based on data from 38 states and five U.S. dependent areas (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
While this appears to be a dramatic increase from the previous year (there were 35,537 cases reported in 2005), the difference can be attributed to a number of new states that reported data to the CDC. The 2005 numbers were based on 33 states and dependent areas. Five additional states— California, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington—participated in 2006.
“As disturbing as these reports from the CDC are, there should be very little head scratching in search of answers,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS. “Under the Bush administration, evidence-based prevention and health promotion to combat sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, have been eviscerated both fiscally and programmatically in favor of abstinence-only programs and heterosexual marriage promotion as the ultimate cure-all. The next administration and Congress must bring some sanity back to our public health efforts.”
- 2008 National STD Prevention Conference. Chicago, IL, (10-13 March 2008). http://www.cdc.gov/STDConference/2008/media/release-11march2008.pdf
- 2008 National STD Prevention Conference: Confronting Challenges, Applying Solutions, (11 March 2008), accessed 31 March 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/STDConference/2008/media/release-11march2008.htm
- HIV/AIDS Surveillance in Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM), (11 March 2008), accessed 31 March 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/slides/msm/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2006. Vol. 18. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/reports/