SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — A new study has revealed over half of teenagers placed on juvenile probation in South Korea have at least one form of sexually transmitted disease, as researchers warn the government to do more to prevent and manage the spread of STDs.
The shocking findings come from a study conducted by a research team led by professor Lee Jae-gab from the department of infectious diseases at Hallym University Medical Center, which showed a staggering 56 percent of the 237 respondents aged between 12 and 19 currently on juvenile probation suffer from one or more STDs.
According to the study released on Thursday, more than six in ten teenagers surveyed said they had sexual intercourse in the past, but a mere 27.6 percent said they used condoms.
When it came to urine tests, over 56 percent were found to have at least one form of STD, while 35.5 percent turned out to have contracted more than two STDs.
The figures for those suffering from more than three or four STDs were 9.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.
When broken down by STD type, respondents diagnosed with Ureaplasma parvum accounted for 24.1 percent, while the figures for those with Mycoplasma hominis and chlamydia were 17.3 and 13.9 percent, followed by trichomoniasis, which 0.8 percent of the respondents were found to have contracted.
Most of the STDs found in South Korean teenagers on juvenile probation were found to be non-gonococcal, which means they could cause inflammations in the urethra, leading to discomfort and pain, while some cases might go unnoticed without showing any symptoms.
While seemingly innocuous at an early stage, leaving the infections untreated could lead to the development of a number of inflammations including prostatitis, epididymitis, orchitis, as well as sterility.
On the bright side however, only six respondents were diagnosed with gonorrhea and syphilis, with no cases of HIV reported.
“A lot of troubled juveniles go about their lives without realizing they have STDs. As teenagers have more sexual intercourse and the risk of contracting STDs grows as a result, the government is being urged to come up with measures to systematically manage the spread of STDs among teenagers,” Professor Lee said.
The findings from the study will be published in the November edition of Journal of Korean Medical Science.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)