Brian Cutler (206) 328-7737

Published: 01.14.09| Updated: 01.14.09

Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) expressed deep concern over the findings of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicating high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI), particularly among women, and reinforced the need to take action to reduce these alarming numbers.

“This study underscores what Planned Parenthood has stated for years: Women, men and teens need to know how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections. They need medically accurate and age-appropriate information to make responsible decisions,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “It is also critical that they have access to affordable health care for vital testing and treatment.”

According to the CDC, more than 1.4 million cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea were reported in the U.S. in 2007, and the number of reported syphilis cases continued to increase. Biological factors increase women’s vulnerability to infection and contribute to more severe consequences, including infertility.

In the northwest region of the country, Alaska stands out as having the second highest rate of chlamydia in the country behind Mississippi. “This is sad but not surprising,” said Clover Simon, Vice President of Alaska, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, “Our state has been either number one or number two for the last decade or so. It’s a real problem.”

A separate CDC report released Jan. 7 found that teen birthrates have risen significantly in 26 states.

“These reports are further evidence of the need for medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education,” Richards said. “Abstinence-only programs have failed to teach young people how to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.”

”In the last decade, more than $1.5 billion federal and state tax dollars have been wasted on ineffective abstinence-only programs that deny teenagers life-saving information and jeopardize their health,” said Richards. “It’s time to put that money toward programs that teach people how to protect their health and make responsible decisions.”

Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide annually provide millions of women, men and teens with sexual and reproductive health care services and medically accurate sex education. In 2007, Planned Parenthood affiliates provided STI testing and treatment to more than three million patients.

For more information about STIs, please visit or call 1-800-PLAN to reach your nearest Planned Parenthood health center.


Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is the region’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest operates 28 health centers in Alaska, Idaho, and western Washington, providing medical services and sexuality education for thousands of women, men, and teenagers each year. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.  We rely heavily on support from donors to help sustain responsible reproduction.

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