As a teenager, your health is important. Protecting yourself against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is an important part sexual maturity. STDs are becoming more and more common, especially in sexually active teenagers. In fact, one in five Americans requires treatment for an STD by age 21. Teenagers are especially vulnerable due to youth and to poor access to education, information and protection regarding STDs. It is important that you take the time to understand what you can do to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.
Different sexually transmitted diseases
There are several different STDs that you can be exposed to as a teenager. All STDs cause a level of discomfort, and some can even cause death. Here are some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases:
- Genital warts
- Genital herpes
- Pubic lice (also called crabs)
- Hepatitis B
How sexually active teens can spread STDs
It is important to understand that the more sexual partners you have, the more likely it is that you will have sex with someone who has an STD. This is why protection is so important. The most common spread of STDs is through sexual intercourse. However, it is important to realize that anal and oral sex can also spread STDs. This is because sexually transmitted diseases are caused by bacteria and viruses that can enter the body through cuts, tears and abrasions in the anus and in the mouth. Additionally, it is even possible to get some STDs through intimate touching. Herpes and genital warts are two of the more common STDs that can be spread through skin-to-skin contact with a sore or an infected area.
Protecting yourself against teen STDs
You might not even know you have an STD until it is too late. Likewise, your partner may not know that he or she has a sexually transmitted disease until passing it on to you. Being smart about STDs means being smart about sex. The best protection you can give yourself is regular check-ups with medical professionals while you are sexually active to make sure that you haven’t come down with anything. If you are in a committed relationship, restricting your sexual activities to one person, insist that your partner be tested, just like you. Loving relationships involve partners who are interested in the wellbeing of the other person, and if you show your willingness to be tested, your partner should be willing to be tested as well.
While engaging in sexual intercourse, using condom can help you protect yourself. No other form of birth control protects against STDs. No pill, patch, diaphragm or spermicide can protect against STDs. Condoms offer the only protection beyond being in a monogamous relationship with a partner free of STDs. And condoms are not always full proof. Be smart about your sexual health. After all, it is your body. If your partner does not agree to protection during sex, maybe he or she is not the one for you.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Protection Main Source Material:
- “About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs),” KidsHealth.org. [Online.]