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Most sexually transmitted infections affect teens, young adults

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Most STDs affect
teens, young adults

In the heat of the moment, it’s a good bet sexually transmitted infections are the last thing on a teen’s or young adult’s mind.

Thus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, young people ages 15 to 24, who make up just more than one-quarter of the sexually active population, account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the U.S. each year.

With this being Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month, officials are emphasizing efforts to educate teens and their parents about the public health issue to slow the spread of diseases among young people.

In addition to providing testing, some localities are leveraging social media to help inform the public about treatments, prevention strategies and the need to get tested.

“It is a sobering reality that so many young people are infected with STDs and even more startling, the number of these young people who aren’t even aware of it,” said Dr. Patrick O’Neal, director of health protection at the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Our goal is to reduce incidence of STDs and the disparity in numbers of young people infected, and cutting down sexual transmission of STDs.”

While sexually transmitted infections affect people of all ages, they take a particularly heavy physical toll on young people, said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention.

Among the eight common sexually transmitted infections, she said, the human papillomavirus, or HPV, is by far the most common among teens and young adults.

— THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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