Anyone can be affected by a sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, teenagers are at high risk of developing STDs. Two thirds of persons with STDs are under 25 years of age. And of the 12 million people who get STDs each year in the U.S., around 3 million are teenagers. If you are a young person having sexual contact, make sure to protect yourself.
There are many different types of sexually transmitted diseases. STDs can cause severe health problems, such as cervical cancer, brain and heart damage, liver disease, inability to have or father children, and even death!
STDs can be passed through vaginal, oral, or anal sexual contact. This includes heavy petting, this is the case for genital herpes. From simple petting, you can develop a disease that will remain in your body for a lifetime. So make good choices when it comes to sexual contact.
Get to know the person you want to be with first. Develop a trusting and honest relationship. Talk about STDs, talking shows respect for you and your partner. Respect your body and others will respect it too. Delay having sex as much as possible. Younger persons are more sensitive to developing STDs.
Abstinence or not having sex is the best way to avoid getting an STD. Even if you have had sex before, you can choose not to have sex until being in a mutually monogamous relationship. Even if your friends say you should have sex, you do not. Don't be afraid to be different. Actually, being different enhances who you are as a person.
Make decisions about being involved in a sexual relationship when sober. Try not to use alcohol or drugs when making decisions about sexual contact. Using alcohol or drugs clouds your judgement and tends to lead people into making the wrong choices.
If you do decide to have sex, always be safe. Use a latex condom or any other type of latex or polyurethane (e.g., female condom) barrier. Birth control pills do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
Not all STDs show signs or symptoms. For example, chlamydia is the most common STD and most of the time, it shows no symptoms. So a girl or guy might have it and spread it without knowing. If chlamydia is not treated, it might lead to infertility, the inability to have or father children. If you are sexually active, make sure to get a regular check-up, like a Pap test or physical.