According to the Center for Disease Control, cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have increased in recent years. And, young women are most affected by these STDs, most notably teens, where one in four of them have an STD. While the reasons for the increase in STD rates vary, we can undoubtedly point our fingers to lack of sex education as being one of the problems. Even in 2015 there are still states that refuse to offer sex ed in schools, preferring to turn a blind eye or preach “abstinence only;” both of which are detrimental when it comes to the sexual health of teens. But a new campaign, Know the Facts First , wants to change all that.
Realizing that sex education here in the U.S. is flawed, the Office of Women’s Health has launched Know the Facts First to teach teenagers, young girls especially, the facts about sexual health. Although the campaign is beneficial for everyone, it’s particularly aimed at girls between 13 and 19, because this is a growing group of individuals who are being affected by the lack of sex education in their lives. This is something that Know the Facts First hopes to change in a judgment-free zone.
Here are seven facts that give plenty of reasons as to why we absolutely need to educate teenage girls about sexual health.
1. Young Women’s Bodies Are More Susceptible To STDs
According to the research by Know the Facts First, the bodies of teenage girls are far more susceptible, on a biological level, to STDs compared to their male counterparts. Something that many girls are completely unaware of.
Because their bodies are more susceptible, it makes sense that more of them would be infected than men, and they are. Although the numbers are relatively close, the fact remains that 51 percent of women aged 15 to 24 are presently infected with an STD, compared to 49 percent of men the same age.
2. Over 60 Percent Of Girls Have Had Sex By The Time They’re 19
According to the research by Know The Facts First, 13 percent of teenage girls are sexually active by the time they turn 15 and by the time they reach 19, 68 percent are sexually active. With that many girls have sex, they need the facts in order to insure their health.
3. There’s Too Much Misinformation Out There
I remember being 15 and thinking the weirdest stuff when it came to sex, all of which I got from my peers. Far too many teenagers don’t have a clue about how STDs are contracted, with some even believing that you can get them from toilet seats. That right there is proof enough that teenage girls need to be educated, and educated correctly, about sexual health.
4. Over 3 Million Teenage Girls Are Infected With STDs
Not only did a study by the CDC find that one in four teenagers has an STD, but on a grander scale that means roughly 3.2 million girls are presently infected with chlamydia, herpes, HPV or trich. But the study also mentioned that the overall number of infected teens could possibly be higher due to the fact that some STDs, like syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, were not included in the study. Those are some scary figures right there.
5. Women Are More Affected By STDs
The major difference in how STDs affect men and women is that women get the brunt of it. While men can live their entire lives unaffected by HPV for example, for women, it’s more dire because it can lead to cervical cancer. Other undiagnosed STDs that are left untreated can lead to ectopic pregnancies, chronic pelvic pain, and even infertility.
6. More Than 10 Percent Of Infected Girls Have More Than One STD
The problem with not using condoms and using them correctly, is that you’re opening yourself up to not just one STD, but all STDs. Just because you have one, doesn’t mean you get a “get out of jail free” card when it comes to other STDs. According to the CDC, 15 percent of those aged 14 to 19 with an STD, have more than one.
7. More Than Half Of Teens With Three Or More Partners Have Had An STD
Although the number of partners should have no bearing on whether or not you have an STD if you use a condom, the CDC has found that it does in teenagers. Over 50 percent of teens who have had three or more partners have found themselves infected with an STD.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy(7)