March 11th, 2008 09:27 EST
CDC says at least 1 in 4 teen girls has STD
Washington, DC-- A study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that at least one in four teens in the U.S. has a sexually transmitted disease (STD). "Current public health policies are clearly failing to reduce the spread of STDs among young women," stated Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America. "Pushing kids to be sexually active, withholding medical screenings to deny parents information about their teens, and encouraging young women to skip screenings for STDs are irresponsible policies that have put teens' health at risk."
"Public health officials need to admit their failures that have led to kids paying the price. Funding irresponsible sex-ed programs, ones that encourage kids to be sexually active, twelve times higher than funding abstinence programs unsurprisingly results in more kids being sexually active. Experts note that a key prevention strategy is screening for STDs. Yet by making the morning-after pill available without a prescription, officials are discouraging young women from seeing a doctor when they are at risk of an STD."
The Associated Press reports that Dr. John Douglas, director of the CDC's division of STD prevention, said screening tests are underused, in part, because many teens don't think they're at risk. Dr. Margaret Blythe, an adolescent medicine specialist at Indiana University School of Medicine and head of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Adolescence, said some doctors are also reluctant to discuss STDs with teen patients or offer screenings because of confidentiality concerns, knowing parents will have to be told the results.
"Parents are the best advocates for their kids, yet some doctors choose to put adolescents' health at risk in order to keep medical information from their parents," said Wendy Wright. "This negligence by doctors, driven by prejudice against parents, pretends to protect kids. However, it does worse than drive a wedge between parents and their children - it puts the teens' lives and health at risk."
The study examined the national prevalence of four common STDs among adolescent girls: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer; chlamydia; trichomoniasis; and herpes simplex virus.
Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.