Patient Education

Mar 07, 2016

HPV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections

HPV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections

I was lucky enough to attend a primary care medical conference in Maui last month. Various topics were covered, ranging from heart disease, cholesterol treatment, diabetes, and orthopedic management of various conditions to name a few. One of the more interesting topics happened to be about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). I found some of the statistics very interesting. From 2002-2007, the Center for Disease Control reported that one out of every seven young persons under the age of 15 had intercourse. For ages 10 to 24, 1/3 did not use a condom for their first sexual encounter! The likelihood of contracting HPV (human papillomavirus) and/or gonorrhea from an infected individual during a single sexual encounter is 50%; for chlamydia it’s 40%. It’s estimated that of all US females aged 15-19, 25% are infected with chlamydia and most don’t know it. The evidence suggests the same group also has about a 25% infection rate for HPV as well and females aged 20-24 years, almost 50% are infected.
STDs pose a significant community health burden in the US. HPV infections account for 99% of all cervical cancers and infections of chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause serious pelvic inflammation even sterility. In fact, gonorrhea alone will cause infertility 11% of the time after the first pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) case, 23% of the time after a second, and over 50% after a 3rd infection. Not very good.
As practitioners and parents, we need to ensure we educate our children and teens about the personal responsibility it takes to be sexually active and the potential risks before the individual actually becomes sexually active. It is much better to be proactive rather than reactive. Good luck!
–Josh Smith APRN