Half of teenage girls in urban areas may contract an STI within two years of losing their virginity, according to a study published today.
Researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine followed 386 urban adolescent girls for eight years and found that at least half of them contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomoniasis within two years of having sex for the first time. A quarter of the participants had contracted their first STI by 15, most commonly chlamydia, and repeated infections were also common.
Unfortunately, because these girls are so young, doctors don't commonly screen them for STIs. Those behind the study hope the findings will increase testing among teens, but now that new (unrelated) medical guidelines recommend that girls wait until the age of 21 to get a pap test let's hope young women don't push back the date of their first gynecological visit altogether. They might not be at risk for cervical cancer, but it's clear that sexually active teens should get screened for STIs. How old were you when you first got tested?