Reuters Health is reporting that within 2 years of having sex for the first time, half of teenage girls may be at least one of three common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to results of a study published in December. Often, those girls are infected by the age of 15.
Researchers followed 386 urban adolescent girls aged 14 to 17 for up to 8 years. Within 2 years of becoming sexually active, half of the girls were infected with at least one of three common sexually transmitted organisms:
- Chlamydia trachomatis,
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or
- Trichomonas vaginalis
- the organisms that cause chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis, respectively.
The researchers found that a quarter of the women had acquired their first STI by age 15, most often Chlamydia.
“Repeated infections were very common,” study investigator Dr. Wanzhu Tu, of Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis told Reuters Health by email. “Within 4 to 6 months (depending on the organism) after treatment of the previous infection, a quarter of the women were re-infected with the same organism.”
Tu said young women are at risk of STIs as soon as they become sexually active.
The study findings appear in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, published by the American Medical Association.