Tubbs Jones Encourages STD Prevention
Today, in light of a recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and in recognition that April is National STD Awareness Month, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, joined by nearly 60 of her colleagues, introduced a bi-partisan resolution urging the House of Representatives to focus greater attention on activities related to the prevention, screening and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
The United States currently has the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections in the industrialized world with an estimated 19,000,000 new cases of sexually transmitted diseases. Almost half of these infections occur in young people between the ages of 15 to 24. These infections pose a tremendous human and economic burden on the U.S. with direct medical costs as high as $15.3 billion per year.
The 2008 report from the CDC estimated that 1 in 4 young women between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States, or 3.2 million teenage girls is infected with at least one of the of the most common sexually transmitted diseases including human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis. These infections can lead to long-term health risks including infertility and cervical cancer.
"The issue of sexually transmitted diseases has grown to epic proportions in this country," said Rep. Tubbs Jones. "What is most devastating is the toll that STD's are taking on our young women, particularly African American young women. The CDC report found that 48 percent of young African American women are infected with an STD compared to 20 percent of young White women."
"We can no longer be silent about this issue. The abstinence-only education touted by the Bush Administration is simply not enough. We must be able to talk candidly with our children about the dangers of STDs so that they understand the risks involved with unprotected sex and equip them with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves."
The resolution supports the goals of National sexually transmitted diseases Awareness Month by encouraging the Federal Government, States, localities to provide additional funding for screening and treatment services and requests increased programming and activities to educate Americans of all ages on the risks and prevention of STDs.