Monday, July 7, 2008

Quelling an Epidemic


A study released this spring by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than one-fourth (26%) of American girls between the ages of 14 and 19 has at least one sexually transmitted disease. That's 3.2-million girls. The most common by far (18%) was HPV, which is linked to cervical cancer and for which, you may recall, there is a vaccination.


The study suggests that reproductive services should include STD screening but that currently only about 38% of young women seeking contraceptive services "associated with unprotected sex" receive STD screening.
D'oh! Given these staggering statistics, wouldn't it make sense just to do routine STD testing as a part of annual physical exams for everyone--male and female--as soon as they hit puberty? The girls are getting those STDs from somewhere, so we've got to assume the boys need screening and treatment too. If one-fourth of a population has a disease, that would seem to qualify as an epidemic. Why are we not treating it as one?

11 comments:

jan springer said...

That's shocking info. I had no idea it was such a high percentage.
Screening should definitely be part of their health care.

jan

Susan Edwards said...

Yep, it's even worse for young black women, 48% of whom are estimated to have at least one STD. With infection rates that high, it's unconscionable that we aren't doing more to make sure our girls (and boys) get screened and get treatment.

Flick said...

Is annual screening the norm in the States? I'm not sure how your health system works. I know you have to pay for it so how would you get youngsters screened? Is it free until they are 18???

Susan Edwards said...

Very little is free in the US, flick. Vaccinations are required for school children, but I don't think there is any screening beyond that, and certainly none for STDs. Less than half of young women seeking contraception or pregnancy services are routinely screened for STDs.

Anny Cook said...

My daughter has HPV. And she has pre-cancerous cervical cells. She's going to be 30 next week. I wish that there had been a vaccine back when she was a teen.

Susan Edwards said...

Oh, Anny, that's awful. I truly do not understand why anyone would be against vaccinating young women against hpv.

Laurel said...

Why is nobody testing the boys? Why are girls yet again taking the rap for the tango it takes two to do?

Susan Edwards said...

Yep, we definitely need to be testing and treating both genders. Otherwise, it's a futile exercise.

Laurel said...

I also think boys should get the HPV vaccine. (But when I say so in public, people look at me like I've recommended universal castration....)

Susan Edwards said...

I'm not surprised, Laurel. Isn't it strange how so much responsibility related to sex still seems to fall on women?

Laurel said...

It isn't strange, it's par for the patriarchal course. Yes, there was a word in this post some people think means "universal castration" too.... (-: