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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infectious diseases transmitted through sexual contact. They are among the most common infectious diseases - with the United States having the highest rates of STDs in the industrialized world.

Protecting your adolescent from STDs:

The best way to prevent your son or daughter from contracting an STD is to advise them to abstain from any type of sexual intercourse. However, if they decide to become sexually active, or are currently sexually active, there are several precautionary measures to follow, recommended by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to help reduce your adolescent's risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease. These include the following:

What should my adolescent do if diagnosed with an STD?

What are some common types of STDs?

Numerous STDs have been identified and affect more than 19 million men and women in this country each year. According to the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Centers for Disease Control, common types of STDs include:

Facts about STDs and adolescents:

  1. STDs affect men and women of all backgrounds and economic levels. However, nearly half of all STDs occur in people younger than age 25.
  2. STDs are on the rise, possibly due to more sexually active people who have multiple sex partners during their lives.
  3. Many STDs initially cause no symptoms. In addition, many STD symptoms may be confused with those of other diseases not transmitted through sexual contact - especially in women. Even symptom-less STDs can be contagious.
  4. Women suffer more frequent and severe symptoms from STDs:
    • Some STDs can spread into the uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to both infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
    • STDs in women also may be associated with cervical cancer.
    • STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby before or during birth. Some infections of the newborn may be successfully treated, but others may cause a baby to be permanently disabled or even die.
  5. When diagnosed early, many STDs can be successfully treated.
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