National Partnership for Women & Families

New Data on Sexually Transmitted Disease Among Teens Underscores Urgent Need to Make Sexuality Education, Contraception & Reproductive Health Care More Available to Youth

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — March 12, 2008 —
“New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing the shocking prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases among teenage girls in the United States is a wake-up call for the nation.  It is very clear that we are not doing nearly enough to discourage youth from sexual activity, or using the right approaches to help teens protect themselves from disease when they become sexually active.
The risks that come with unprotected sexual activity are simply too great to keep our eyes closed, and our heads in the sand, any longer.  We need a vastly greater investment in family planning, universally available sex education that promotes abstinence and offers contraceptive information, and greater access to condoms and other contraception for youth who are sexually active.

With one in four teenagers — and one in two African American teens — infected with HPV, chlamydia, genital herpes or trichonomiasis, the time for action is now.  

We need more funding for the CDC’s sexually transmitted disease prevention programs, for its Vaccines for Children program which provides coverage for the HPV vaccine, and for Title X family planning.  We should stop funding abstinence-only sex education programs that do not work, and instead direct our investment to programs that help teens access the information and services they need to make safe and responsible decisions.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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