Wednesday, March 12, 2008

STD Infection Rates High Among Black Young Women

In a recent study conducted by federal health officials, the first of its kind on a national level, in fact, researchers discovered that one in four young women, ages 14 to 19, are infected with one of the following diseases or viruses: human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes, and/or trichomoniasis. While some diseases, such as chlamydia, can be treated, if caught in its early stages, as to not lead to additional bodily harm, others, such as HPV, can mean life-long consequences, including genital warts and even cervical cancer. Unfortunately, black young women, despite their relatively small portion of the entire U.S. population, were found to have contracted the aforementioned diseases/viruses/infections at the highest rates:

Nearly half the African-Americans in the study of teenagers ages 14 to 19 were
infected with at least one of the diseases monitored in the study — human
papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common
parasite. The 50 percent figure compared with 20 percent of white teenagers,
health officials and researchers said at a news conference at a scientific meeting in Chicago. The two most common sexually transmitted diseases, or S.T.D.’s, among all the participants tested were HPV, at 18 percent, and chlamydia, at 4 percent, according to the analysis, part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

As if we are living in parallel universes, black women both here and abroad are experiencing high rates of STD infection, yet when reviewing the research, I wondered what was missing? Where is the follow-up discussion here regarding the partners of these young women, and their demographic information? Had their male partners ever been incarcerated? Were they older than the young women? What were the class levels of the respondents? What was the sex education, if available at all, like in the schools of the respondents? What were the households of the respondents like and did they discuss sex with their parent(s)? Did they have easy access to contraception or even women's health resources? Had the young women ever experienced sexual assault?

The study raised more questions than it gave answers, but hopefully, there will be an extensive overhauling of the way we educate our youth when it comes to sex and their bodies. If not, I could only imagine the numbers getting worse.

- Wendi Muse


Jessica McCurdy Crooks said...

With HIV/AIDS still a major cause for concern among the African-American population, as well as in the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa I strongly believe that even more education and public awareness is needed. Many teens, especially girls equate sex with love; sadly even some grown women make that mistake to the detriment of their life and health.

My appeal to African-American mothers today is to take time to talk with your daughters and SONS – they too are a part of the problem and the solution. Really talk to them without condemnation. Find out if they are sexually active and discuss abstinence and safe sex issues. Even if they say no, still have the discussion – do not turn a blind eye and say “my child is a good child and is therefore not like that”. Whether or not your child is part of the statistics that make up that 50 percent now, later in life they may well be. Remember that the repercussions from this if left unmanaged will impact adults later on – the increased possibility of cervical cancer later in life and infertility are just two of the possible outcomes.

nicolebrownsisterhood said...

I blame whitey. Dey invented duh AIDs to keep thuh black mens down en sheeeeeyit.

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