People Between Ages 15 and 24 Account for 50% of All STD Cases, Including HIV, in U.S., Reports Say
February 25, 2004
Sexually active people between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for 50% of all new cases of sexually transmitted diseases in 2000 in the United States, according to two studies published in the January/February issue of the Allan Guttmacher Institute's journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, the Raleigh News & Observer reports (Avery, Raleigh News & Observer, 2/25). The reports provide the first national estimates for the prevalence and cost of STDs among young people (Sternberg, USA Today, 2/25). For the first study, researchers from Family Health International and CDC's Division of STD Prevention examined data from national STD case reports, national surveys, literature reviews and the World Health Organization in order to estimate STD incidence and prevalence for 2000 among people between the ages of 15 and 24. Researchers found about 18.9 million new STD cases occurred in 2000, and 9.1 million of the cases, or roughly 50%, occurred among people between the ages of 15 and 24. Researchers also found that human papillomavirus, trichomoniasis and chlamydia accounted for 88% of all new STD cases in that age group (Weinstock et al., Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, January/February 2004).
At What Cost?
James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, said, "Over 27 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 have had sex, and they need all the facts -- including medically accurate information on condoms -- to protect their health," adding, "With STDs, the stakes are just too high to talk only about abstinence" (Advocates for Youth release, 2/24). AGI President and CEO Sharon Camp said that it is "not surprising" that young people account for a disproportionate share of STD cases. "Most young people are sexually active, and many are ill equipped to prevent STDs or seek testing and treatment," she said, adding, "Although abstaining from sexual activity is guaranteed to prevent STDs, some adolescents and virtually all young adults will eventually choose to have sex. Before they do, they need realistic sex education that teaches them how to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies." Camp added that it is "essential to have medically accurate information about condoms and other contraceptive methods and guidance on how to access appropriate prevention, testing and treatment services" available to teens and young adults (Fox, Reuters, 2/25). AIDS Project Los Angeles Executive Director Craig Thompson said that the reports' findings are "disheartening and preventable," adding, "These data represent the social dividends of our current investment in condom disinformation and rigid abstinence-only sexual education programming. The time has come to reassess this portfolio and to reinvent our approaches to STD prevention and control" (APLA release, 2/24).
Global Fund Signs Letter of Intent to Award Previously Suspended Grant to Ukrainian HIV/AIDS Program
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.