According to a study published last month in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion, there were 1.1 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young Californians in 2005, the California Catholic reports.
The figure is ten times higher than previously believed. If the study is accurate, diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, and HIV now infect almost one out of four Californians in the 15-24 age group.
The authors believe that their figures are underestimated because of incomplete screening of sexually active young people and failures in follow-up testing.
The California Department of Education reports that 96 percent of California school districts provide comprehensive sexual health education. All California schools have been required to teach HIV/AIDS prevention since 1992.
Linda Klepacki, sexual health analyst for Focus on the Family Action, thought the dramatic increase was unsurprising. "California has insisted on teaching contraceptive-based sex education in their schools all along. They expect teens to be sexually active. They don’t raise the health standard to abstinence… It's clear California supports sexually active teens, and STI rates will naturally explode with these policies," she wrote in an on-line press release.
Plan B, the so-called "morning-after pill," could be another factor contributing to the increase in STIs. Sexually transmitted infections soared in the British Isles when Plan B was made available without prescription in 2000. California was one of the first states to permit the sale of Plan B over-the-counter without an age limit.