One in four teenaged girls in the United States has a sexually transmitted infection, according to anew study from CDC.
Only half of those girls are sexually active. Among those who have ever had sex, STI rates are 40%. We don’t know how that compares with past rates in the United States, because this kind of study hasn’t been done before on adolescent girls in the US. That’s in part because the government expects them all to keep their legs crossed until marriage (something they are demonstrably not doing). But those rates on infection look pretty much the same as the STI rates we see among women who sell sex for a living in several countries in Asia and elsewhere.
Black girls in the States have even higher rates. The CDC abstract doesn’t tell us how sexual activity differs by race, or what STI rates are among sexually active black girls. But since it is 48% among all African-American teens (including those who have never had sex, compared with 20% among white and Hispanic girls) we can assume it is higher than we see in many groups of sex workers in Asia.
I consider STI rates of over 40% to be an appalling indictment of our prevention efforts among professional women who have sex with several different men every week. Now we’re seeing the same rates among teenagers in American households. What does that say about the success of the abstinence-only programmes pushed by the Bush administration?