By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – According to the CDC, one in four teens between the ages of 14 and 19 has been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. Now the statistics are startling, but it’s an important message that needed to get out.

Decades ago, a sexually transmitted disease might have been a source of embarrassment, but most could be treated effectively with antibiotics. Today, there are numerous viruses, including herpes, hepatitis b and c, and of course HIV.

Human papillomavirus, or hpv, may be the most common viral std. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and even syphilis are infections that if not treated rapidly, can cause long-term effects, even sterility.

Clearly, there is a problem and we need to be aware of it. The CDC is serving an important role by getting the information out there.