STDs - Definitions / History / Statistics / Studies

STDs Among Young People Soar

1 of every 2 sexually active young people can expect to become infected by the age of 25. Young women are more at risk than young men because the infections can “silently” hide in the female reproductive tract, according to the study. [School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the UNC, Chapel Hill Washington Times, 2/25/04]

 

At a public health conference held in mid-December 2003 in D.C., doctors cited evidence of an epidemic of STDs among the nation’s teens, and cited “safe-sex” programs and condom-distribution as contributing factors of the problem. At the conference, researcher Dr. David Hager reported that within the U.S. each year, chlamydia cases increase by 4 million, pelvic inflammatory disease (PIDP by 1.2 million, gonorrhea by 2 million, genital herpes by 1 million and HPV by 5.5 million. According to the American Social Health Association, 3.8 million of these and other STD cases are contracted by U.S. teens — the highest contraction rate within the general U.S. population. In fact, almost 45% of all teens and young adults are infected with at least one STD by their mid-twenties.

 

Many of these STDs cannot be cured, leading to long-term health problems including infertility and even cancer. 95% of all cases of cervical cancer are associated with HPV infection, resulting in 4000 deaths a year in the U.S.

Yet teens continue to be the most targeted group for the safe-sex message, which advocates condom use to prevent the spread of STDs, including HIV…

Unfortunately, new statistics and studies have concluded that “while condom usage has increased most among teens, STDs have also increased most among teens.” Project Reality, the advocacy group sponsoring the conference, points out that “the popular claim that ‘condoms help prevent the spread of STDs’ is not supported by the data. If condoms were effective against STDs, the increase in condom usage would correlate to a decrease in STDs overall — which is not the case. Rather as condom usage increases, so do rates of STDs.” [emphasis added]

In addition to such statistics on STD cases, studies on sexual activity during adolescence also show increased percentages of depression, suicide, as well as an assortment of emotional problems including loss of self-respect, esteem, and trust among sexually active teens compared.

As Hager went on to point out, the only way to guarantee teens will not contract such disease, or, prevent increases in these emotional and behavioral problems is to promote the delay of “sexual activity until they are in a mutually, monogamous relationship within marriage,” not the safe-sex message. The most effective messages promoting the delay of sexual activity came from parents and moral beliefs, which “accounted for 53% of the influences affecting teen decisions about sex.”

Hager’s presentation on teen sexualtiy comes on the heels of similar statistics reported by CDC, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the American Cancer Society, and the National Institutes of Health, which show correlations between the increases in STD with increases in condom usage and promotion of the safe-sex message. [The Culture of Life, Culture & Cosmos, 23Dec03; Family Foundations, Mar/Apr 2004]