Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases (STIs/STDs)

Sexually transmitted infections can be caused by a bacteria or virus.  Once infection occurs, it lead to a disease, but not every infection causes disease.

WHY ARE WE CONCERNED?

  • 1 in 4 sexually active teenagers has an STI that could lead to a disease (Centers for Disease Control)
  • 50% of all high school students have had sex (Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2011)
  • Many teens do not think they can get an STI through oral sex however, it is entirely possible.
  • Many teens do not think they could get an STI, partly because teens who get STIs are not talking about it or they feel they are invincible.
  • About 20% of 8th graders report having had oral sex, and around 10% report having had vaginal sex (MCCSC Survey: Sexual Attitudes, Behaviors, and Knowledge of Middle and High School Students, 2007)

BACTERIAL VS. VIRAL

  • Bacterial STIs are curable with antibiotics and viral STIs are not, although symptoms can be treated.  New antiretroviral drugs can positively impact a viral infection.
  • Most common bacterial STIs are: gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis
  • Most common viral STIs are: human papilloma virus (HPV) and herpes simplex.

GIRLS VS. BOYS

  • It is easier for girlsto contract STIs than boys.
  • Girls are less likely to have symptoms than boys with STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea
  • If girls who have chlamydia or gonorrhea do not get treated, there is a chance they will develop pelvic inflammatory disease and infertiliity.
  • Certain strains of HPV can develop into cervical or throat cancer. Doctors recommend teens get vaccinated for the four types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. The vaccine is called Gardisil.  Ask your healthcare provider about getting your son or daughter vaccinated.

STEPS PARENTS CAN TAKE

  • Emphasize why you believe abstinence is the healthiest choice for your child.
  • Discuss that if your child was to be sexually active, they need to be responsible: use a condom and another form of contraception, get tested, be faithful, honest, monogamous, and get an annual exam.
  • Let them know what your concerns are and the negative consequences of early sexual activity.
  • Give your child skills in dealing with peer pressure and how to get out of pressure situations. Giving them a scenario and asking them how they would proceed can help them develop the skills needed to think before acting.