Hello - at least one in four teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease. How's that for a grabber? Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted the study and were more than a little surprised by the results. Only about half of the girls in the study acknowledged having sex, but of those who admitted to doing the dirty deed forty percent had an STD.
This is the part where I compare myself to the youth of today: When I was a teenager, I thought that STD was the Racer's Edge. Most of the people I hung out with were only wishing that they were having sex, and so the very notion of catching something was out of the question. Oh, we had stories about this girl or that guy, but never anything that amounted to more than ugly rumors about diseases that we couldn't begin to comprehend.
The worst I knew about were the girls who thought they had mono. Mononucleosis used to be called "the kissing disease" because it is found, like so many things, in saliva and mucus. In junior high, anyone who was out sick for more than three days in a row was almost certain to have contracted mono.
All the truly horrifying viruses that came later were simply punchlines to jokes I claimed to get. The fact that Valentine's Day and Venereal Disease had the same initials was a great big hoot, at least for a few days every year. But did I know anyone with persistent itching or open sores? Heavens no. Fast forward to 2008: The overall STD rate among the eight hundred and thirty-eight girls in the study was twenty-six percent, which translates to more than three million girls nationwide. Three million teenage girls with something swimming, floating or crawling around inside of them making another who-knows-how-many teenage boys sick. And vice versa. It was probably some genius teenage boy who first promoted the myth that douching with Coca-Cola will kill STD germs. Have a Coke and smile.