Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are spread through any form of sexual contact. Engaging in unprotected sex and contracting STDs are not uncommon among teenagers. Teens who engage is risky sexual behaviors -- such as having multiple sex partners ad not using condoms-- place themselves at an increased risk of contracting a host of STDs including HIV/AIDS. Nearly 40 percent of sexually active teens said they did not use a condom the last time they had sex, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)
Sexual transmitted diseases can make a teen feel mortified but embarrassment can be the least of a young person's problems. Untreated STDs may pose health problems such as infertility and possible death as in the case of HIV/AIDS. An estimated 9.5 million teens and young adults aged 15 to 24 contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) each year, notes the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH,) a website published by the Department of Health and Human Services. A 2010 CDC report found the rate of STDs in general is on the rise in teen boys. Approximately four in 10 adolescent females aged 14 to19 have an STD, according to OAH.
Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Genital Herpes
Chlamydia rates among teen girls and boys aged 15 to 19 years rose 4 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the CDC. More than 3,400 cases per 100,000 were reported in female adolescents in 2011. Some 800 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 teenage boys were reported in 2011. Gonorrhea cases among teens dipped slightly -- 0.1 percent for teens 15–19 years from 2010 to 2011. In 2011, young females had the second highest rate of gonorrhea -- more than 550 cases per 100,000 -- compared with any other age or sex group The gonorrhea rate among teenage males aged 15 to 19 years was less than half the number of female cases; nearly 250 cases per 100,000 were documented in 2011. Sixteen percent of teens and adults aged 14 to 49 had genital herpes between 2005 and 2008 -- the latest years figures are available -- notes WebMD.
Syphilis and HPV
Syphilis rates among teens aged 15 to 19 years declined from 2.9 cases per 100,000 in 2010 to 2.4 cases in 2011, notes the CDC. Syphilis cases are far more common in males and females age 20 and over. HPV is the most widespread sexually transmitted viral infection among males and females in their late teens, explains HealthyChildren.org, a website published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STD among sexually active female. Some HPV strains are associated with cervical, anal, and other genital cancers and genital warts.
Some 8,300 teens and young adults aged 13 to 24 in the 40 states that providing statistics to the CDC had HIV infection in 2009. Thirty-nine percent of all new HIV infections during that year were diagnosed in young people. Teenage boys and young men aged 13 to 29 who had sex with other males -- known as MSM -- accounted for 69 percent of new HIV cases in 2009 -- the most recent year statistics were available. In 2006, teen girls accounted for 39 percent of AIDS cases in young females aged 13 to 19, according to the Center for Aids Research, Education and Services.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sexual Risk Behavior: HIV, STD, & Teen Pregnancy Prevention
- KidsHealth.org: About Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Office of Adolescent Health: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- WebMD: Teens and STDs: Get the Facts
- MedlinePlus: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- HealthyChildren.org: Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: STDs in Adolescents and Young Adults
- WebMD: CDC: Genital Herpes Rates Still High
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