Teens Understanding of STD's

& Prevention

By: Brittany Cobb

General Information

88 Percent of teens don't believe that they are at risk for HIV and don't see unprotected sex as a high risk activity, although in general teens have a very well understanding of their life long health risks. They are more concerned about getting diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Each year there are 50 thousand new HIV infections and the rates have risen over the last decade. In general though there is decreased risk behavior among adolescents than older generations.

What Are STD's ?

STD's are sexually transmitted diseases by sexual intercourse. STI's are sexually transmitted infections that can sometimes be cured if caught early. One STD that can't be cured is HIV/ AIDS along with all other Viral STD's like HPV and Hepatitis. The most common symptom of STD's is actually no symptoms which can make it hard to know if you have one or not. If you suspect that you have an STD you should go to your doctor and get checked. If STD's are not treated they may become worse and lead to other life-long health issues like even infertility or not being able to have a baby.

Treatment

The most common symptom is no symptoms. If you are planning to be sexually active both you and your partner should go to a medical examiner and be evaluated. Also don't be embarrassed to go to the doctor right away if you suspect that you have and STD, after all they are most treatable in their early stages.

Ways to Prevent

Many teens believe that condoms are a way to prevent STD's. They really only prevent a little bit if they are used correctly, but the only way to truly prevent them is by practicing abstinence or not having any sexual intercourse. Having sex at a young age, having sexual intercourse with many different partners, and having unprotected sex increases the risks of getting STD's.

Other STD's

Herpes - It is a viral STD that causes blisters or sores known as genital herpes.

Chlamydia - The bacteria infects a woman's cervix, urethra in both men & women, or the rectum, throat, and eyes.

Syphilis - Caused by a bacteria; starts with painless sores, or rashes but may become more serious over time.

Hepatitis B - Caused by a virus and infects the liver.

Gonorrhea - Sometimes called "the Clap", caused by bacteria; infects penis or vagina, but also can infect rectum, throat, or eyes.

How Do They Spread?

STD's are generally spread through sexual intercourse but some viral STD's can be spread through the sharing of needles, skin to skin contact, or mother to child.