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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
MISSOURI: Rise in STDs Hits Teens Hard
Tina Hesman Saey
September 11, 2007
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (09.07.07) - Tuesday, September 11,

In the city of St. Louis, chlamydia cases have increased from 3,206 in 2002 to 4,581 in 2006, according to health officials. And among those cases, 41 percent were ages 15-19. In St. Louis County, the number of persons diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea increased from 4,821 in 2002 to 7,100 in 2006. About 70 percent of those cases were ages 15-24.

Health officials are worried both about the high number of STDs among young people and the disproportionate number of African Americans becoming infected. In the city, more than 90 percent of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases were African Americans.

Last year, 57 people ages 13-24 were diagnosed with HIV in the St. Louis region.

Many teenagers and young adults think they are immune from STDs, said Marianne Adolf, St. Charles County STD program manager. Nearly half of Missouri high school students have had sex, and one-third say there are sexually active, according to a 2005 survey. Two-thirds of the sexually active teens said they had used condoms during their last intercourse.

Young women comprised most of the chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, said Regina Whittington, a disease intervention specialist for the St. Louis County Health Department. But often young women do not feel they can ask a partner their sexual history or that they can negotiate condom use, she said.