Teenagers are having sexual encounters younger and younger while believing what is discussed around school or on campus. With access to the Internet, teenagers and sexually active teenagers as never before have information available on sex and sexually transmitted diseases. Many of the sites available to teenagers have been doctor approved for accurate information on sexual transmitted diseases and sexual health practices. Many of these information sites have areas of discussion on not only sexual health, but emotional well-being for this age group that are growing up faster and faster in today’s society. These Internet sites offer information on std testing centers and can assist teens in wading through what is fact and what is a myth about all things sexual.
Myth vs. Fact
A myth is that STDs only happens to the “trashy” or promiscuous kids that will have sex with just about anyone. This is not the case as sexually transmitted diseases are an “equal opportunity” infection. STDs do not care if one is rich or poor, color doesn’t matter, or what job one has. The only ones not getting STDs are those not having sex. Even the ones that are using condoms are reducing the risk of contracting an STD. Condoms do not keep sexually transmitted diseases at bay 100 percent of the time, but the chance of being infected is lower with the use of condoms than when a condom is not used.
STDs are only spread through vaginal sex. Having oral and anal sexual encounters protects the participants from the infections. Again, this is a myth. The fact is any skin to skin encounter is capable of spreading sexual transmitted diseases. A teenager is able to contract a sexually transmitted disease orally, anally and vaginally when a condom is not worn during a sexual encounter. Viruses and bacteria that cause the different types of STDs are spread when two people come in contact and exchange bodily fluids.
Checking for STDs
Teens worry about talking to an adult about sex, but especially sexual diseases. Many states allow sexually active teenagers to be tested for STDs that are over 13 years of age without contacting a parent. Many schools are making it easier for teenagers to get tested and treated anonymously by having health clinics on the school grounds. The testing is done confidentially to encourage teenagers to participate and keep healthy. Counselors are available to talk with teenagers to better help them understand what is going on in the body and how to best prevent recurrences. Getting questions answered without embarrassment goes a long way in becoming aware that having sex is a responsibility that affects one’s overall health and future.
Teenagers and Future Sexual Health
Research continues to explore sex in younger age groups, the spread of STDs, and future sexual health. Studies have shown that teenage girls that are sexually active have encountered an STD by the age of 15. The most common are Chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis. Adolescent girls between the ages of 14 to 17 after acquiring their first STD are more likely to repeat or contract another sexually transmitted disease within 4 to 6 months of completing treatment of the first episode.
Youth are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases as their bodies are changing and still growing. This is especially true of young girls. While STDs can be sneaky where visual signs or symptoms may take weeks to become apparent, this is even more so in young females and women in general. Any unusual discharge, fever, painful urination or even flu like symptoms should be checked out by a medical professional. Males should have any usual discharge, swelling, fever or painful urination checked out as these are early signs of a possible sexually transmitted disease. Even these subtle signs could take weeks to be apparent. Early detection by getting tested after unprotected sex is the only method to remain sexually healthy while remaining sexually active.
When seeking medical attention, this checkups needs to have honest and open communication, where any and all sexual encounters discussed, to assist the clinic to make certain all STD tests are run. Unfortunately, abstinence in youth has become less common. If a teenager has not practiced abstinence and has began having sex, sexually active teenagers should get the facts on sexually transmitted diseases from medical clinics and STD testing centers to remain healthy. This ensures sexual health today and on into the future.