Sexually Transmitted Diseases Continue to Increase in Youth According to Recent Report


BURBANK, Calif. -- New information by the American Social Health Association (ASHA) of Research Triangle Park, N.C. shows alarming trends in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among America's young people.  A study by ASHA, sponsored by Roche Diagnostics of Indianapolis, is being released in conjunction with April's STD Awareness Month and demonstrates that the incident rate of STDS in youth (ages 15 to 24) have increased dramatically in recent years.


According to the ASHA Report 2005:


-- Many adolescents wrongly assume that healthcare providers are

      routinely testing them for STDs -- according to a survey conducted on

        ASHA's teen website (, 69 percent of females ages 13- to 25 believe that chlamydia testing is routine.


-- Chlamydia is the bacterial STD with the highest prevalence among youth

        and routine screening for chlamydial infection in young women has been

        demonstrated to work in reducing infection rates and lowering the cost

        of this STD to society.(1)


-- 74 percent of all reported chlamydia infections in 2000 were among sexually

        active youth ages 15 to 24.(2)


-- 60 percent of all reported gonorrhea infections in 2000 were among sexually

        active youth ages 15 to 24.(2)


-- Voluntarily reported performance measures of health plans under the

        Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) show only 30 percent of

        females ages 16 to 25 in commercial plans and 45 percent of females ages 16

        to 25 in Medicaid plans were screened for chlamydia in 2003.(3)


-- Less than one-third of physicians from a national survey routinely screened patients for STDs.(4)


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends sexually

active adolescent women should be screened for chlamydial infection at least

annually, even if symptoms are not present. Chlamydia is the most frequently

reported infectious disease in the U.S. and since 75 percent of infected women and

50 percent of infected men have no symptoms, most people are not aware that they have

the disease. According to the CDC, the cost of chlamydia and its consequences

is more than $2 billion annually in the United States alone and they state

that every dollar spent in screening for the disease saves more that $12 in

treating complications that may result from untreated infection by chlamydia



"As the incidence of STDs in youth increases, public awareness information

such as the details provided by ASHA's report is critical in order to alert

healthcare professionals, parents and youth about this serious health risk,"

said William Temple, MD, medical director of Health Line Clinical

Laboratories.  "Campaigns like the National STD Awareness Month also bring to

light the important information and education about this growing challenge for

the healthcare industry. Laboratory testing for infectious diseases is

becoming an essential element in the battle for control of emerging diseases

as well as ancient scourges of society that continue to ravage our youth.

Genomic testing, especially the amplified nucleic acid detection methods,

provide the sensitivity to allow for simplified alternative sampling and the

specificity necessary to win this battle. At Health Line, we are focused on

providing the latest technologies, such as real-time PCR, that promise to add

incredible speed to assure rapid turnaround of results for more effective

diagnosis and therapy."



     (1)  Shih S et al., Chlamydia screening among sexually active young

          enrollees of health plans-United States, 1999-2001, Morbidity and

          Mortality Weekly Report, 2004, 53: 983-985


     (2)  Weinstock h, Berman S and Cates Jr. W, Sexually transmitted diseases

          among American youth:  incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000,

          Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2004, 36:6-10


     (3)  National Committee for Quality Assurance.  The State of Health Care

          Quality:  2004, Washington, D.C.: NCQA, 2004


     (4)  St. Lawrence JS, STD screening, testing, case reporting, and

          clinical and partner notification practices: a national survey of U.S.

          physicians, American Journal of Public Health, 2002, 92: 1784-1788



Source:  Health Line Clinical Laboratories


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