Girls ages 15 to 19 accounted for nearly 410,000 of the 1.5 million chlamydia and gonorrhea cases reported in the United States last year, according to federal statistics reported in HealthDay News.

Women ages 20 to 24 posted the second highest number of cases, according to the same report, the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2008.

In addition, the report showed that black women continue to acquire more sexually transmitted infections (STIs, or STDs) than any other racial or ethnic group.

Overall, stats showed that blacks accounted for 71 percent of gonorrhea cases and almost 50 percent of chlamydia and syphilis cases in the United States. (Black women ages 15 to 24 had the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea.)

“Research has shown that socioeconomic barriers to quality health care and higher overall prevalence of STDs within minority communities contribute to this pervasive threat,” said John M. Douglas Jr., MD, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of STD Prevention. “It is imperative that we improve access to effective STD prevention and treatment services in local communities for those who need them most.”  

Long-term health consequences of STIs are preventable with early testing and treatment.

Learn more about the spread of STIs among teen girls here.