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Week 32-Do 1 in 4 young women really have an STD?

April 3, 2009

“Hard to Spell, Easy to Catch”  brought to you courtesy of Peel Public Health, Ontario, Canada.

Yup.

The  CDC reports one in four U.S. teenage women between the ages of 14 and 19 are infected with a sexually transmitted infection (also known ast STDs). The highest rates are among older teens and college-age young women.

About 19 million new STDs occur amongst people of all ages in the United States.  54% of college students regularly use condoms during vaginal intercourse, 29% during anal sex and only 4% during oral sex.

One of the most common STDs is HPV – Human papillomavirus, which sometimes causes genital warts or cervical cancer -the other is Chlamydia. The CDC recommends that sexually active women under the age of 25 have annual Chlamydia screening and should be vaccinated against HPV. 

Dont wait for symptoms: women are often unaware  they are infected until symptoms worsen (and some STDs, like Chlamydia, often have no symptoms).  The best protection is to use a condom and get yourself tested.

And there is something you might not know:  Compared to their hetero sexual or lesbian counterparts, bisexual college women are at greatest risk for STDs. Researchers are unclear whether it’s the gender of their sexual partners, their number of partners, or the combination of these two factors that seem to increase the STD frequency.

April is Get Yourself Tested Month (GYT09).  Planned Parenthood health centers across the country are offering either low- or no-cost STD testing and treatment.  Click here to use the zipcode finder to find a location that works for you.

If you have an STD, you should immediately tell your sex partner/partners so they can get tested and treated if necessary. The  same goes for you – if your partner or one of your partners is diagnosed with an STD – you need to be tested and treated.

Stay tuned in coming weeks for tips on how to make safe sex sexy.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Education Department carefully selects all weekly questions. All questions are actual inquiries made to PPNNE by college-aged students.

Should you have a question you would like to see included, please send an email to goddess@ppnne.org

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