Teens and STDs: 10 facts you should know about

Teenagers at risk

Sexually transmitted diseases are quite common among teenagers who live an active sexual life. Nearly half of such teenagers acquire sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), though it is mostly not of a serious nature. Awareness about STDs should thus be an important part of education of a teenager. More so, if we are keen on preventing them. Unfortunately, most teenagers know close to nothing about STDs. STDs are often spread by having sex with someone who already suffers from a sexually transmitted disease. It could even happen if your genitals are in close contact with the infected area of a person who the disease. The age old wisdom that prevention is better than cure can be of much help here. Here are ten facts every teenager should know about sexually transmitted diseases:

1. Unprotected sex can lead to STDs

Often STDs affect people who have vaginal sex without using a condom. It could also happen if the condom is not used properly. You will get STDs if you have anal sex or vaginal sex with partners who suffer from such diseases. Contrary to what people believe, STDs can also affect people who do not sleep around. So, to be on the safe side, avoid unprotected sex at any cost.

2. You will not always be able to detect STD yourself

Many teenagers wrongly believe that they will be able to detect sexually transmitted diseases on their own by simply looking at the private parts of their partners. This is not true. Some people, of course have symptoms but, most STDs do not have any visible symptoms. There can be no symptoms which you can detect for months, or even years before having unprotected sex with someone. Make sure that you go to a doctor and get both of you checked.

3. Many clinics ensure confidentiality about these tests

Teenagers often fear informing their parents when they get STDs. It is even more difficult if they are in their early teens and are likely to be punished for their risky behavior. While it is always good to tell the truth to your parents and take the punishment accordingly, you do not necessarily have to tell your parents if confidentiality is an issue of great concern for you. Many states have laws which protect your privacy, even from your parents. Be informed about the local laws before undergoing an STD test.

4. Get a test done regularly

It would be good to get yourself tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea once in a year, if you are actively involved in sexual relationships. Decide how frequently you have to do an AIDS test after consulting your doctor. It is not necessary that you have to regularly test yourself for HPV or syphilis. Always make sure that you know whether your partner has STDs or not, and decide whether you have to undergo a test.

5. STD tests normally examine your blood or urine

Your blood will be examined if you are testing for AIDS, herpes, syphilis or hepatitis B. For other STDs, you need to get your urine tested wherein you collect your urine in a given container. They also do a pelvic examination, if necessary.

6. Bacterial STDs are treatable

Only sexually transmitted diseases which are the result of bacterial infection can be treated. Doxycycline is used for the treatment of chlamydia and ceftriaxone is used for gonorrhea. Injection of penicillin cures syphilis. If you find the symptoms of any of the bacterial STDs, quickly get yourself treated. Inform your partner and abstain from sex till advised.

7. Viral STDs are not treatable

If the sexually transmitted diseases you have are the result of a virus infection, there is no medical cure we have found till now. However, in some cases, there could be medicines which help you deal with the infection for a considerable period of time. It is far better to ensure that you never get viral STDs instead of struggling with it for life.

8. Always have protected sex

Most sexually transmitted diseases could be prevented by taking preventive measures. Use a condom, and make sure that it is used properly. Another option is to practice monogamy. Avoid having reckless sex with strangers. Prudish morality might seem alien to human nature, but going by it can have its own merits.

9. Take preventive measures after consulting a doctor

You should also consult a doctor on a regular basis and get yourself tested. Make sure that your partner is cured of his or her sexually transmitted disease before having an intimate physical relationship. There is vaccination available for hepatitis B and HPV. Get yourself vaccinated if the doctors deem it necessary.

10. Some condoms might not protect you well

Contrary to what many people believe, all condoms can’t protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. Natural skin condoms often let in viruses when they are used for protection in the genitals, rectum or mouth. People who have latex allergies can use polyurethane. Make sure that you insert a condom right after you have an erection. Do not wait till things go wrong. There are many tutorials on how to use condoms properly. Make proper use of them.

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