What you need to know about STDs

Megan Lausch

What exactly are STDs?

STDs are sexually transmitted diseases. STDs are slowly changing to STIs, sexually transmitted infections because doctors say that people are more likely to go to the doctor if something is classified as an infection rather than a disease.

What are ways that you can prevent yourself from getting an STD?

Practice abstinence. This means abstaining from any sexual activity. But if you are going to have sex, make sure that you use a condom. Being in a long term relationship and only having sex with one person is another way to lower your chances of getting an STD. Therefore if they don't have an STD, then you will not get an STD. This is called mutual monogamy. If you are sexually active, it is vital that you get vaccinated. HPV and Hepatitis B are the vaccinations recommended by doctors. Ask you doctor about getting vaccinated next time you go to the doctor.

Statistics

1. Around 9.5 million teens and young adults are diagnosed with STDs each year

2. Two in every five sexually active teenage girls between the ages 14 and 19 have an STD.

3. More than half of all people will have an STD at some point in their lifetime.

4. 1 in 4 teens get an STD.

5. Less than 1/3 of people have routine STD checkups.

How can you get an STD?

You can get STD's from having unprotected sex, oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal. Some teens think that you can only get STDs from having "real" sex, but you can obtain an infection from oral sex and anal sex. It is also possible to get infected from genital touching. STDs can also be spread to babies when mothers are breastfeeding.

How do you get tested for STDs?

If you tell your doctor or parents you want to be tested, they will help you from there. There are different types of tests done for different STDs. Fore example, pelvic exams, physical exams, blood tests, urine tests, or tissue samples. They are not painful, and they are extremely important if you are sexually active. Getting regular STD checkups is a very good idea.

How are STDs treated?

Some STDs are treated with antibiotics and medication. Others, like HIV, cannot be cured. If you have HIV you can take medication to lessen the symptoms of the disease.

What can you do to help your peers become aware of STDs?

As a teen, you can spread awareness to your fellow peers about STDs. You can inform them of the risks and share some statistics with them. If you know any of your friends are sexually active, you can advise them to get checked for STDs. Most importantly, you can encourage your friends to practice abstinence to have the most high quality life as a teenager.

What are the most common STDs among teenagers?

A few of the most common STDs are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HPV, and Genital Warts. Chlamydia is found in 20-40 percent of teens having sex, and this has no symptoms. It can lead to not being able to have children. Human Papilloma Virus(HPV) is found in almost 15 percent of sexually active girls and can result in cervical cancer. Gonorrhea affects the penis in men and vagina in women, and it can cause heart trouble, the inability to have children, and arthritis. Genital warts are growths that appear on genitals.