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CDC: ID Teens Not Immune from S-T-Ds

March 12, 2008

Boise, ID – Too many young women, in Idaho and around the country, are suffering the effects of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than three million teenaged girls - at least one in four - has contracted an infection.

Donna Wade, executive director of the Idaho Women's Network, says the news is particularly tragic because STDs can be prevented.

"We need to commit to offer them a comprehensive, medically and scientifically accurate, sexuality education program."

The most common STD, human papillomavirus (HPV), is linked to cervical cancer later in life; such infections also can cause infertility. Wade believes the high numbers are linked, in part, to the current federal priority of funding "abstinence only" sex education programs.

"Meanwhile, we have a clear link between the usage of contraceptives, and protection from sexually-transmitted diseases."

Most supporters of the "abstinence-only" approach say it is rooted in religious beliefs. The study also found that STD prevalence is lowest among Mexican-American teens. Study results are available online, at www.cdc.gov.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - ID