sexual alarmism

I meant to post about this a long time ago. You probably remember the headline about this new startling statistic:

Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March showed that more than one in four U.S. teen girls was infected with at least one sexually transmitted disease.

Oh my god! One in four teenage girls is a dirty, vile slut! Kids weren’t like this when *I* was a kid. Country’s goin to hell in a handbasket!! and so on..

Except, the actual CDC press release says:

A CDC study released today estimates that one in four (26 percent) young women between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States – or 3.2 million teenage girls – is infected with at least one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis).

The problem here is that of the four most common sexually transmitted diseases, two of them are not transmitted exclusively sexually: HPV and Herpes Simplex – HPV being by far the most common. And as far as I can tell the study made no distinction as to whether or not the disease was transmitted sexually (how could they?) So, all this hysteria seems a lot less justified when you realize it’s merely saying that 1 in 4 teenage girls has had either a cold sore or warts.