A study of data
from Baltimore sexually transmitted disease clinics
indicates that over the past decade there was a significant
increase in the proportion of teens and young adults
engaging in oral sex and, less commonly, anal sex.
Emily Erbelding of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical
Center in Baltimore presented the findings at the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored
2006 National STD Prevention Conference in
colleagues examined the 1994 medical records of 2,598
people age 12 to 25 and the 2004 medical records of 6,438
subjects of the same age visiting Baltimore STD
clinics. The researchers found that over the 10-year
period, the prevalence of self-reported oral sex within the
preceding 90 days doubled among males, from 16% to 32%, and
more than doubled among females, from 14% to 38%. The
study found an increase in anal sex among young women,
"but it was a lot less common than oral sex,"
according to Erbelding, with the prevalence rising from 3%
to routinely ask their adolescent and young adult
patients about the full range of sexual behaviors and
educate young people in general about what the
relative risks are for different types of STDs and for
various sexual behaviors," Erbelding noted.
there may be a perception that oral sex is safer than
intercourse, and it may be for some STDs. However, Erbelding
stressed that oral and anal sex could result in the
transmission of STDs that would not be detected in
routine tests. "A urine test is not going to pick up
gonorrhea or chlamydia that might have been acquired through
rectal or oral sex, with gonorrhea being the more
significant infection for oral sex," she said.
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