Columbia (WLTX, AP) -- At least one in four teenage girls nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease, according to a new study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. South Carolina ranks third overall for gonorrhea cases, statistics say.
The study found the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection in girls age 14 to 19.
[Read more about the National Study]
Tina Torres talks about everything from cars to sex with her three teenage daughters. She says it’s the only way she’ll know everything that’s going on with them, even sex.
“It's not 1990. This is 2008. These teens need help, need guidance,” said Tina.
She’s shocked to hear about the recent study that says one in four of her daughters’ friends could have an STD.
“That just blows my mind. It’s like, where are the parents? Where are the guardians, where are the adult figures in these young girls lives to talk to them about these things?” said Tina.
While Tina agrees the conversations need to start at home, she thinks a joint effort between the state, schools and parents will help to lower the number of teens with STD’s in South Carolina.
Though the conversation sometimes is tough to bring up experts with the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy say make sure you know what's going on in your child’s life. And if they are regularly having sex, officials say to make them get tested.
“Things are going to happen. It’s just allowing your child the opportunity to come talk to you and if you're not allowing that activity, find someone else they know and can go talk to,” said Tina.
Tina says she'd rather have the conversation, than have her daughters become a statistic.
“I refuse to allow those rates to occur in my home,” said Tina.
In South Carolina, 2006 statistics compiled by the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy show the same percentage of teens with STD’s, but less than one in three of those teens have been tested for HIV.
The highest overall prevalence is among black girls. Nearly half the black teens studied had at least one STD. Among both whites and latina teens, the rate was 20 percent.
The director of the CDC's division of STD prevention says high STD rates among young women are clear signs that researchers must continue developing ways to reach those most at risk.
(Click Here to See How to Talk About STDs with Your Children)
The study analyzes data on more than 800 girls who participated in a 2003-2004 government health survey.
South Carolina ranks number three in nation for cases of gonorrhea, number five for chlamydia, number 12 for syphilis and number 10 for AIDS case rates.
Teens younger than 19 account for 27 percent of the chlamydia cases, 20 percent of the gonorrhea cases, and three percent of the HIV/AIDS cases reported in South Carolina.
Since 1986, more than 3,200 13-24-year-olds have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina.
Of the new HIV/AIDS cases among South Carolina youth, more than 78 percent were African Americans, and 51 percent were females.
All statistics were provided by the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
For South Carolina STD statistics search the database in our datacenter.
For more information and state statistics, visit www.teenpregnancysc.org.