STIs are common in teenage girls

According to a recent study conducted in the United States among more than 800 teenage girls, one out of four is in fact suffering from a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Sexual health education is always the subject of current affairs. According to a recent study conducted in the United States among more than 800 teenage girls, one out of four is in fact suffering from a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The most common STIs were the human papillomavirus (HPV, responsible for genital warts, also known as condyloma, and most cervical cancers) at 18.3%, followed by Chlamydia at 3.9%, trichomoniasis (responsible for certain bacterial vaginosis) at 2.5%, and the genital herpes virus at 1.9%. Syphilis, HIV and gonorrhoea were not part of this analysis.

STIs are infections that are caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites, and can generate acute symptoms such as vaginal discharge and/or painful pelvic inflammation. It must be known however, that they can also be devoid of any symptoms and go undetected for quite some time. An STI that remains untreated can be the cause of severe consequences in the long-term, possibly leading to infertility and certain types of cancer.

Latex condoms are highly effective in preventing infections such as Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, HIV, gonorrhoea and hepatitis B. However, the condom is less effective against genital herpes and syphilis, and only partially protects against HPV. Young girls and young women between the ages of 9 and 26 can now be vaccinated against four strands of HPV, the virus that causes, among others, genital warts and cervical cancer.

It is essential for parents to approach this subject matter with their children, and that, early on and without any detours, especially now that sexual health education courses have been withdrawn from most high school curriculum. Do not hesitate to question your pharmacist for further information on this subject.

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