About 3.2M Teenage Girls Have a Common STI; More than Half of Black Girls Have at Least One, Report Finds
About 25%, or an estimated 3.2 million, of U.S. girls ages 14 to 19 have at least one of the four most common types of sexually transmitted infections, with the rate highest among black girls, according to a study released on Tuesday by CDC, the Wall Street Journal reports (Wall Street Journal, 3/12).
The report analyzed data on 838 girls ages 14 to 19 who took part in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The girls were tested for four of the most common STIs: human papillomavirus, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and herpes (Desmon, Boston Globe, 3/12). The most common STI was HPV, which affected about 18% of the girls, followed by chlamydia, which affected 4%; trichomoniasis, which affected 2.5%; and herpes simplex virus 2, which affected 1.9%.
The study found that roughly 50% of black girls had at least one of the four STIs, compared with 20% of white and Mexican-American girls (Wall Street Journal, 3/12). STI rates among Hispanic, black and American Indian girls in the targeted age group are typically higher than those of whites, according to the Daily Oklahoman (Raymond, Daily Oklahoman, 3/12). Among the roughly 50% of girls of all races who acknowledged having had sex, 40% had at least one of the four infections (Wall Street Journal, 3/12). Fifteen percent of the infected girls had more than one of the STIs (Altman, New York Times, 3/12).
The researchers said limited access to health care contributed to the higher infection rate among black girls (Beras, Miami Herald, 3/12). John Douglas, director of CDC's Division of STD Prevention, said the high rates among black girls "are clear signs that we must continue developing ways to reach those most at risk" (New York Times, 3/12). He added, "This does not mean that African-Americans are taking greater behavioral risks individually," and he attributed the rates to a greater risk of exposure and socioeconomic factors. The cause of the racial disparity remains "elusive," he said (Daily Oklahoman, 3/12).
NPR's "Day to Day" on Wednesday included a discussion with Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at CDC, about the study and the rate of STIs among black teen girls (Brand, "Day to Day," NPR, 3/12). Wednesday's program also included a Youth Radio discussion with teens Asha Richardson, Brandon Robbins and Susana Vuong about the study (Richardson et al., "Day to Day," NPR, 3/12). Audio of the segments is available online.
CBS' "Evening News" on Tuesday reported on the study. The segment includes comments from Douglas and Elizabeth Alderman of the Children's Hospital at Montefiore (LaPook, "Evening News," CBS, 3/11). Video of the segment and expanded CBS News coverage are available online.
NBC's "Nightly News" on Tuesday also reported on the study. The segment includes comments from nurse practitioner Paula Bryant-Barnett and Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, at CDC (Guthrie, "Nightly News," NBC, 3/11). Video of the segment is available online.