The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than half of the 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted disease each year occur in adolescents.
Adolescents are at the greatest risk due to three factors:
1. They’re likely to have unprotected sex.
2. They’re biologically more susceptible to infection.
3. They may face barriers to health care.
Two of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in adolescents age 16-24 are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are bacterial infections that spread via vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Unfortunately, these infections are relatively asymptomatic and vague, so many people have no idea they’re infected.
It’s important to diagnose these infections early because, if left untreated, they can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain in females, and infertility and sterility in males. These infections can also increase the risk of HIV infection.
The good news is that these infections can easily be diagnosed with a simple urine test, and then treated with antibiotics. It’s important to treat not just the infected patient, but all partners as well, to protect public health and prevent the spread to others.
As always, we at Kids Plus want to provide the best possible preventative care for all of our patients and families. That’s why, in accordance with recommendations made by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, we will be screening all of our patients for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea — regardless of sexual activity — starting at age 16.
This process will allow us to best maintain patient privacy and confidentiality, and also to best safeguard the health and wellness of all our adolescent patients.