Ring the alarm: New study shows high STD rates

A recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control shows that more than two million teenage girls have been affected by sexually transmitted diseases, black girls making up almost half of that number.

The March 11 report shows that one in every four adolescent girls has contracted at least one STD. This ratio calculates to about 3.2 million young girls or 26 percent. The CDC report also shows black girls accounting for 48 percent of the 3.2 million girls affected by a sexually transmitted infection or STD.

Donavan Thomas, 20, a junior political science student from Washington, D.C., said teens are ignorant on the issues.

“The statistic is sad and a concern for the African-American people,” Thomas said. “We need to educate our adolescent females one on one with someone that has experiences with STD or STI prevention.”

The CDC noted that the two most common STDs are the human papillomavirus and Chlamydia.

John M. Douglas Jr., director of the CDC division of STD prevention, gave his interpretation of the report in a Science Daily article published March 12. Douglas said STD infection rates among young women, particularly young black women, are clear signs that “we must continue developing ways to reach those most at risk, and that STD screening and early treatment can prevent some of the most devastating effects of untreated STDs.”

Sherika Ralliford, 20, a junior psychology student from Coral Springs, was shocked by the statistics and said she feels parents should educate their children on issues concerning sex.

“As a student body we should organize to get out into our communities and speak to the youth and inform them of the risks, starting in Tallahassee schools and the Boys and Girls Club,” she said.

Like Ralliford, Thomas said that as a whole, FAMU can help in the prevention and education of our young adults.

“As FAMU students we can have workshops and programs at the local schools as a prevention tool,” he said.

Curtisha Randolph, a health educator for SHISA, Inc., the company that provides the FAMU health center with free HIV/AIDS testing, responded to the CDC findings.

“The statistics are sad, but this is the world we live in,” Randolph said.

Randolph’s advice for getting the word out is to have seminars and presentations for students starting at ages 13-14. The health educator said this is when most begin sexual activity.

SHISA, Inc. offers a program called S.I.S.T.A.H. (Sisters Informing Sisters on the Topic of AIDS and HIV). Randolph said the focus on sexual education courses in school is very limited and does not offer all the information needed to students. For more information regarding this topic, visit http://www.cdc.gov. SHISA, Inc. can be reached at 224-8571.