If anyone needs evidence that a sexually permissive society can damage its children, a new CDC study provides it. A study shows that 25% of all teenage American girls have at least one sexually-transmitted disease, at least one of which can cause cancer and infertility:

One in four teenage girls in the United States has a sexually-transmitted disease, a study has indicated.

The study, by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found an even higher prevalence of STDs among black girls.

Researchers analysed data from a nationally representative sample of 838 US girls aged 14 to 19.

A virus that causes cervical cancer – HPV – was the most common, followed by chlamydia, trichomoniasis and herpes.

The rate goes much higher among black teenage girls, closer to 50%, but whites and Hispanics have rates above 20%. The prevalence of HPV should cause a great deal of concern. It portends not just a costly health-care eradication program but also a wave of cancer and infertility that will have dire consequences for the US in later years. It’s especially sad, since HPV can be prevented with a simple vaccine, if given early enough.

Interestingly, no study has been done on teenage boys, and the BBC report doesn’t mention them at all. Girls have more risk in the long-term damage these infections can do, but obviously boys have to be passing these infections along. The CDC’s recommendations for better screening for sexually active teenage girls should also apply to the teenage boys. At the very least, we shouldn’t be placing all of the burden of these STDs on one partner in the transaction.

The size of the sample seems rather small. Using 838 cases for a study gives enough information for a theory about the prevalence of the disease in the general population, but the CDC should widen its study to see if the numbers hold up — and they should start testing boys as well. If confirmed, it shows that we have failed to educate our children about the risks of sexual activity. Making condoms as available as Chap-Stick obviously hasn’t made them any safer or wiser.