STD/STI Newsbytes

Menstuff® has compiled newsbytes on the issue of STDS. STI is the new term that is expected to replace STD since many sexually transmitted infections are just that, infections and not diseases. Therefore, the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) appears to be a more accurate medical description.

Related Issues: Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, AIDS
Color Atlas and Synopsis of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Slide Guides:
Resources: AIDS & Aging

Know The Symptoms Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Learn what symptoms might indicate that you have a sexually transmitted disease.

A Look At The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study has become a symbol of medical research gone awry.

Syphilis At All-Time Low In U.S.

When a Pittsburgh suburb experienced the beginnings of a 30-case syphilis outbreak last year, state health workers met those suspected of fueling the surge - drug users and prostitutes - on the streets.

Study Finds STDs Not Always Reported

A three-state study found up to 36 percent of gonorrhea cases and up to 22 percent of chlamydia cases were not reported to public health officials, as required by state law.

Women Lead in Gonorrhea Infections

New findings dramatically demonstrate how the spread of sexually transmitted diseases differs by age, gender, race and geography. This report shows that some STDs - hepatitis B, chancroid and syphilis - are declining among teens, but gonorrhea is up, while other STDs continue to disproportionately affect youth, with young women and African Americans particularly hard hit.

After dropping each year from the late 1980s through early 1990s, gonorrhea rates are climbing again throughout the population, the CDC says. The disproportionate incidence of STDs among youth can be explained in part by some inherent factors: teens are more likely to contract STDs because they are more likely to have multiple partners, while young women are biologically more susceptible to certain STDs and are more likely than young males to have older sexual partners (men who are more likely to have already contracted a disease). These factors may explain the results of a recent study of 3,860 sexually active females in Baltimore, also conducted by the CDC, which showed that the chlamydia rate among females ages 12 to 24 was more than three times that of females 25 to 60. Yet another CDC study, released last month ("Young People are Risk: HIV/AIDS Among America's Youth"), estimates that at least half of all new HIV cases in the US are among people under 25. In one sample of more than 3,000 cases reported in 1999, females between ages 13 and 19 made up 64 percent of the cases, while African Americans in that age range made up 56 percent.

Race is a major factor in the spread of STDs, which is one of the most common curable STDs among teens, is more prevalent among women than men, but is especially prevalent among young black women. The chlamydia rates for 15-to-19 years old females in 1999 were just under 4 percent for whites, 6 percent for Mexican Americans, and as much as 12 percent for African Americans.

As for gonorrhea, infections increased 13 percent among adolescents from 1997 to 1999. Meanwhile, while young African Americans remain at extremely high risk, male Hispanic teens continue to contract gonorrhea at a higher rate than their white counterparts, and female Hispanic teens, whose rate was lower than that of their white counterparts throughout the '80s, are now at higher risk.

One twist in the racial disparity is that black teens are reportedly more likely to use condoms than are white teens. However, black teens are also more likely than white teens to become sexually active at an early age, and to have more sexual partners. Therefore, more condom use does not preclude more unprotected sex.

STDs are also highly concentrated in the southeastern quadrant of the US. None of the nine states with extremely high rates of gonorrhea - over .2 percent - are north of the Mason-Dixon line or west of Louisiana.

We urge listening to young people more and cite Sex etc, the magazine and web site ( ) a previous Web Site of the Week here at Menstuff and Planned Parenthood's "teen wire" web site ( ) as examples of teens educating adults and each other about sex-related issues. For more information, contact Dr. Susan Wang, 404.639.8373 or the CDC at .

Note: Gonorrhea infections per 100,000 in 1999 among youth. In the age categories 10-14, 15-19, 20-24 and 25-29, in each of the racial categories of "White, non-Hispanic", "Black, Non-Hispanic", and "Hispanic", women lead men in 9 of the 12 breaks. Men lead in "Black, Non-Hispanic 20-24 and 25-29" and "Hispanic 25-29".

Source: Youth Today, 3/01 issue and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Tracking the Hidden Epidemics: Trends in STDs in the US, 2000. Gonorrhea Infections rates per 100,000 in 1999.

U.K. teens have high pregnancy, STD rates

English and Welsh data suggest that British teenagers lag far behind their European peers when it comes to reducing rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD).

"Sexual health should be a priority for coordinated national and local health promotion among young people," write Dr. Angus Nicoll and colleagues at the Communicable Disease Surveillance Center in London. Their report is published in the May 15th issue of the British Medical Journal.

The authors examined 1995 and 1996 government data on the sexual health of English and Welsh teens.

They report that between 1995-1996, birth rates rose 6.7 percent in girls under 16 years of age, and by 4.6 percent in women aged 16 to 19 years of age. At the same time, rates for abortion rose "by 14.5 percent in under 16s and 12.5 percent in 16 to 19 year olds." The researchers note that this sharp rise "took place in all health regions and reversed previously declining trends (observed) in the early 1990s."

British teen STD rates rose as well. For example, 1996 rates for gonorrhea "increased by 34 percent in women and 30 percent in men from those of 1995," according to the investigators. This rise reverses the steady decline in gonorrhea rates observed among teens between 1991-1994. "Widespread rises were also seen for genital chlamydial infection and warts," the authors add, "but not for genital herpes simplex."

In a commentary, Dr. Martin McKee of the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, notes that a 15- to 19-year-old woman living in the U.K. is seven times more likely to become pregnant compared with her counterparts on the European continent. And he points out that "British teenagers were more likely to have used all categories of illicit drugs" than teens living across the Channel.

Although the British government has recently tried to 'micro-manage' this crisis through the appointment of a 'drug czar' and other initiatives, McKee speculates that the U.K.'s troubled teens may reflect "a more fundamental malaise."

He points out that the British educational system lags behind that of mainland Europe, and "more families live in poverty in the United Kingdom than in the rest of the European Union." Finally, McKee notes that British workers have the longest work week of any in Europe, reducing "the amount of time families spend together."

The British government has recently conducted a report investigating these and other issues that might have an impact on teen behavior. According to McKee, the report "recognizes the need to learn from the experience of our more successful European neighbours" in tackling problems of juvenile pregnancy, STDs, and substance abuse.


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