NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 9, 2009

Within two years of having sex for the first time, half of teenage girls may be infected with at least one of three common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), according to a new study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.  Often, those girls are infected by the age of 15.

Researchers followed 386 urban adolescent girls aged 14 to 17 for up to eight years.  Within two years of becoming sexually active, half of the girls were infected with at least one of three common sexually transmitted organisms:  Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhea or Trichomonas vaginalis -- the organisms that cause Chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis, respectively.

According to study investigator, Dr. Wanzhu Tu:

  • A quarter of the women had acquired their first STD by age 15, most often Chlamydia.
  • Repeated infections were very common
  • Within four to six months (depending on the organism) after treatment of the previous infection, a quarter of the women were re-infected with the same organism.

These young women are vulnerable to STDs, but because of their younger age, they may not be perceived by health care providers as having STD risk, and thus are not screened in a timely manner.  STD screening (especially for Chlamydia) should begin within one year after first intercourse and infected individuals should be retested frequently, preferably every three to four months, says Tu.

Source: Reuters, "Half of Teen Girls Infected With STDs within 2 Years of Having Sex," Fox News, December 8, 2009.

For text:,2933,579703,00.html 

For study abstract: 


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