Millions of Teenage Girls Have a Sexually Transmitted Disease

HPV is the Most Common STD Among Teenage Girls

Diverse group of teen girls
Diverse group of teen girls. Getty Images/

A CDC report released March 11, 2008, detailed that one in four teenage girls is or has been infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The equals out to 3.2 million or 26% of teenage girls ages 13 to 19 being infected with one of four common sexually transmitted diseases:

The study also discovered that African-American females were much more likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than Caucasian females.

HPV is the Most Common STD among Teens

The CDC study found that the most common STD among teenage girls was HPV, with 18% infected. The second most common was chlamydia, with 4% of teen girls being infected.

HPV is the most common STD in the world. It is estimated that over 20 million Americans are infected with the virus, many of whom are unaware. While most people with HPV will never experience adverse health affects of the virus, some untreated women are at risk for several types of cancer, mainly cervical cancer. HPV is also related to the development of vulvar and vaginal cancer in women. Men with HPV are also at risk of developing cancer, such as anal and penile cancer.

Genital warts are also a product of HPV infection, in which both men and women are susceptible to.

More About HPV:

Need for the HPV Vaccine is Clear

When the HPV vaccine Gardasil was approved by the FDA in use in girls as young as 9, many parents wondered why the vaccine should be given to such young girls.

The results of the CDC study make the answer clear: teens are definitely having sex and contracting HPV. By immunizing preteen girls with the HPV vaccine prior to them becoming sexually active, we will greatly reduce their risk of contracting HPV.

Gardasil, the current FDA-approved HPV vaccine, protects against two types of HPV that cause 70% of all cases of cervical cancer.

Vaccinated girls are also protected from the two types of HPV that are responsible for 90% of genital warts. Being vaccinated with Gardasil also greatly reduces the risk of developing precancerous and abnormal vaginal and vulvar lesions that could become cancerous.

More About the HPV Vaccine:

What This Study Means to Parents

For most parents, the findings of this this study are an eye-opener. The study has shed light on how much we really need to educate our teens about the consequences of being sexually active and also provide access to contraceptives and STD testing services.

Sexual education can begin right in the home. For parents who aren't comfortable talking to their kids about sex, a trusted family friend, clergy member, or healthcare provider are all excellent choices to talk about sex with a child. Just because a parent is uncomfortable talking about sex with their child, it does not mean their child should go uneducated.

With the prevalence of STDs and unplanned pregnancy in today's world, allowing a teen to go uneducated would be like letting him play in the street, hoping he doesn't get hit by car when you aren't watching.

Talking to Your Kids About Sex


CDC Press Release. "2008 STD Prevention Conference". CDC. 11 March 2008.

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