One in four young females between the ages of 14 and 19 has at least one sexually transmitted disease. Almost one in two African-American females in this age group, 48 percent, has sexually transmitted diseases.
A sexually transmitted disease (STD) or venereal disease (VD) is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans or animals by means of sexual contact, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex. Increasingly, the term sexually transmitted infection (STI) is used, as it has a broader range of meaning; a person may be infected, and may potentially infect others, without showing signs of disease. Some STIs can also be transmitted via the needles used in IV drug use, as well as through childbirth or breastfeeding. Sexually transmitted infections have been well known for hundreds of years.
The four diseases: human papillomavirus (HPV), Chlamydia, herpes simplex virus and trichomoniasis.
A study was presented recently at the 2008 National STD Prevention Conference.
Researchers analyzed data on 838 females from 14 to 19 who participated in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The authors estimated that 3.2 million adolescent females are infected with one of the sexually transmitted diseases.
Another study by the CDC reports that few young women receive contraceptive or STD services, 39 percent.
The CDC reported that most sexually transmitted diseases often clear by themselves, but some persist and put women at risk for cervical cancer.
"CDC supports a comprehensive approach to STD prevention that includes the promotion of abstinence as the surest way to prevent getting an STD, being in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner known to be uninfected and the consistent and correct use of condoms for sexually active people to reduce the risk of acquiring many infections."
CDC reported that condoms, used all the time and properly, may lower the chances of passing HPV to a partner or developing HPV-related diseases. Condoms only provide protection when used properly as a barrier and to and from the area that it covers. Uncovered areas are still susceptible to many STD's.
Condoms are designed, tested, and manufactured to never fail if used properly. There has not been one documented case of an HIV transmission due to an improperly manufactured condom. However, there have been cases of condom recall, as in a case in South Africa.
Proper usage entails:
- Not putting the condom on too tight at the end, and leaving 1.5 cm (3/4 inch) room at the tip for ejaculate. Putting the condom on snug can and often does lead to failure.
- Wearing a condom too loose can defeat the barrier.
- Avoiding inverting, spilling a condom once worn, whether it has ejaculate in it or not, even for a second.
- Avoiding condoms made of substances other than latex or polyurethane, as they don't protect against HIV.
- Avoiding the use of oil based lubricants (or anything with oil in it) with latex condoms, as oil can eat holes into them.
Not following the five guidelines above perpetuates the common misconception that condoms aren't tested or designed properly.
In order to best protect oneself and the partner from STI's, the old condom and its contents should be assumed to be still infectious. Therefore the old condom must be properly disposed of. A new condom should be used for each act of intercourse, as multiple usage increases the chance of breakage, defeating the primary purpose as a barrier. Defeated barrier equals potential transmission.
CDC recommends that females between ages of 11 and 26 be fully vaccinated against HPV. It also recommends annual Chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 25.More screening among at-risk populations, especially African-American women and older adolescents, needs to be promoted.
And comprehensive sex education needs to be increased among young women.