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Denial of sexual activity may be preventing many teens from seeking STD testing, which could be contributing to persistently low testing rates, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers from Emory University collected data on more than 14,000 individuals under age 20. They were asked questions about their sexual activity then given a urine test. The researchers found that 10 percent of participants who had positive STD tests denied ever having had intercourse. The researchers tested for common infections like Chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis.
The researchers said that the discrepancy between STD rates and admissions of sexual activity may stand in the way of an honest discussion of the subject, which could result in more STD testing and potentially lower rates of infection. They suggested that mandatory testing may help.
"From a clinical standpoint, the discrepancies between STD positivity and self-reported sexual behavior observed in this nationally representative sample suggest that routine STD screening may be beneficial and necessary to reduce STD morbidity among young adults," they wrote in their report.
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