Unsettling numbers out about teen girls and STD's

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

(WVLT) Some unsettling numbers are out surrounding teenage girls and STD's.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has more on the study from the centers for disease control and prevention.

The CDC says at least one in four teenage girls, ages 14 to 19 has a sexually transmitted disease.

That's more than three million teens at serious risk.

Katelyn Brooks, a UT freshman says, "that's extremely shocking."

The CDC study covers all girls, ages 14 to 19, not just those who are sexually active.

Scott Hughes, "Just Wait Director of Education says, "when you consider that 25%, one out of every four teenage girls in America has an STD, it's pretty alarming."

Hughes, says the 2003-2004 numbers are most-likely even worse today.

"In actuality, if you were to look at an '07 study, it's probably higher than what this study indicates."

"Just Wait" teaches abstinence-based sex education in 125 East Tennessee schools, including Knox County.

"Teach kids the benefits of waiting to have sex and some of the consequences, which involves STD's, pregnancy, emotional stuff, if you don't wait."

Hughes says there's a dangerous misconception among teenage girls that only intercourse is considered sex.

"When you begin to talk about oral sex and other forms of sexual activity, girls think they're okay. They're not technically having sex because they can't get pregnant."

But they can easily get an STD that comes with some serious health risks.

Gary Messer, the Knox Co. Disease Intervention Specialist says, "you've got to be concerned about sterility, where there's scar tissue in the pelvis, fallopian tubes. Those young girls who some day want to start families, they now have issues to deal with that."

The Knox County Health Department treated 229 teenage girls for chlamydia and gonorrhea in 2007.

"There's a lot of peer pressure. Teens are more sexually active, just being around their friends and other groups that would encourage sexual activity."

Jaclyn Salem, a UT freshman says, "I've had a friend who had to have me come with her to go to a clinic because she actually contracted one."

Salem says it's a tough lesson learned.

"It was just a really bad experience for her and she's a lot more careful now, that's for sure."

Scott Hughes also says the key to getting these STD numbers down lies in the parents educating their children at home.


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