Monday, November 30, 2009

A recently published study reports that nearly one in four adolescent girls were found to have had at least one sexually transmitted infection (STI), while the prevalence grew to more than one in three among girls who ackowledged being sexually experienced. "The prevalence of STIs among female adolescents is substantial, and STIs begin to be acquired soon after sexual initiation and with few sex partners," said authors of the study, which was published online in the journal "Pediatrics" on Nov. 23.

Data were analyzed from 838 females who were aged 14 to 19 and participating in the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004. After interview and examination, survey participants provided biological specimens that were tested for five STIs: Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, herpes simplex virus type 2, and human papillomavirus (HPV) (any of 23 high-risk types or type 6 or 11).

Among the conclusions :

  • Prevalence of any of the 5 STIs was 24.1% among all female adolescents and 37.7% among those deemed "sexually experienced" (gave a "yes” response to the question, “Have you ever had sex?)
  • HPV was the most common STI among all female adolescents (18.3%), followed by C trachomatis infection (3.9%).
  • Prevalence of any of the STIs was 25.6% among those whose age was the same or 1 year greater than their age at sexual initiation and 19.7% among those who reported only 1 lifetime sex partner.
"These findings support early and comprehensive sex education, routine HPV vaccination at the age of
11 to 12 years, and C trachomatis screening of sexually active female adolescents," the authors wrote.

This seems like a good place to remind readers that a new Facebook application has been launched to help educate, motivate and mobilize people to prevent the spread of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). “Fact Check: HPV” ( allows users to take an interactive, educational quiz about HPV, find additional resources, and commit to take action, while even allowing concerned friends to anonymously share the application with peers.


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