I have heard that teenage girls are at a high risk of getting STDs. Why is that?

Women are more susceptible to STDs than men because of the nature of their reproductive organs. Many STDs survive best where it is dark, moist, and warm. Because the woman’s reproductive system is mostly interior, her body is more easily infected. Compared to a man, she also has a larger surface area of tissue that certain STDs might affect. Furthermore, a woman’s body is exposed to infectious diseases for a longer amount of time after intercourse. These biological differences make women more likely to catch certain STDs.

The risk of infection is greater for young women because the cervix of a teenager is immature. In what is known as the “transformation zone” of her cervix, young women have what is called “cervical ectopy.” This means that the cells from within the cervical canal extend out toward the opening of the cervix. Such cells are sensitive to infections, and so their exposure makes the women more vulnerable to certain STDs. The rapid cell changes within the cervix also make a young woman more susceptible to certain diseases. When a woman reaches her mid-twenties, the cervix will have matured and some of its tissue been replaced by a different type that is more resistant to infections from STDs.[1]

The birth control pill also increases a young woman’s chance of contracting certain STDs because it interferes with her immune system.[2] The Pill also causes the production of a certain type of cervical mucus that makes it easier for cancer-causing agents to have access to a woman’s body.[3] All this research only confirms the fact that a woman’s body is like her heart: she is not designed for multiple sexual partners. She is made for love.
[1]. R. Eng and W. T. Butler, The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1997), 71–73; “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease,” Fact Sheet (CDC); A.B. Moscicki, et al., “Differences in Biologic Maturation, Sexual Behavior, and Sexually Transmitted Disease Between Adolescents with and without Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia,” Journal of Pediatrics 115:3 (September 1989): 487–493; A.B. Moscicki, et al., “The Significance of Squamous Metaplasia in the Development of Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions in Young Women,” Cancer 85:5 (1 March 1999): 1139 –1144; M.L. Shew, et al., “Interval Between Menarche and First Sexual Intercourse, Related to Risk of Human Papillomavirus Infection,” Journal of Pediatrics 125:4 (October 1994): 661–666; Vincent Lee, et al., “Relationship of Cervical Ectopy to Chlamydia Infection in Young Women,” Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 32:2 (April 2006): 104–106.
[2]. G. Yovel, et al., “The Effects of Sex, Menstrual Cycle, and Oral Contraceptives on the Number and Activity of Natural Killer Cells,” Gynecologic Oncology 81:2 (May 2001), 254–262; M. Blum, et al., “Antisperm Antibodies in Young Oral Contraceptive Users,” Advances in Contraception 5 (1989), 41–46; C.W. Critchlow, et al., “Determinants of Cervical Ectopia and of Cervicitis: Age, Oral Contraception, Specific Cervical Infection, Smoking, and Douching,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 173:2 (August 1995), 534–43; J.M. Baeten, et al., “Hormonal Contraception and Risk of Sexually Transmitted Disease Acquisition: Results from a Prospective Study,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 185:2 (August 2001), 380–385; Catherine Ley, et al., “Determinants of Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection in Young Women,”Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83:14 (July 1991), 997–1003; M. Prakash, et al., “Oral Contraceptive Use Induces Upregulation of the CCR5 Chemokine Receptor on CD4(+) T Cells in the Cervical Epithelium of Healthy Women,” Journal of Reproductive Immunology 54:1–2 (March 2002), 117–131; C.C. Wang, et al., “Risk of HIV Infection in Oral Contraceptive Pill Users: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 21:1 (May 1999), 51–58; L. Lavreys, et al., “Hormonal Contraception and Risk of HIV-1 Acquisition: Results From a 10-Year Prospective Study,” AIDS 18:4 (March 2004), 695–697; W.C. Louv, et al., “Oral Contraceptive Use and the Risk of Chlamydial and Gonococcal Infections,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 160:2 (February 1989), 396–402; J.A. McGregor and H.A. Hammill, “Contraception and Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Interactions and Opportunities,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 168:6:2 (June 1993), 2033–2041.
[3]. John B. Wilks, A Consumer’s Guide to the Pill and Other Drugs, 2nd ed. (Stafford, Va.: American Life League, Inc., 1997), 30.

Related Resources

Theology of the Body in One Hour
By: Jason Evert
If You Really Loved Me
By: Jason Evert
Eclipse of the Body
By: Christopher West
Green Sex
By: Jason Evert
Pure Intimacy
By: Jason Evert
Life-Giving Love
By: Jason Evert