Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are more common in teens and young adults. In fact, two-thirds of all STDs occur in people under the age of 25. People contract STDs via skin-to-skin contact from sexual intercourse or oral sex. The effects of certain ones can last a lifetime. It is crucial for you to know why teens are at risk and what you can do to ensure that your teen takes the necessary precautions to protect herself once she becomes sexually active.
Lack of Education
A primary reason why teens are more prone to STDs is lack of education. When parents or teachers do not teach teens what an STD is and what damage they can cause, they might not fully understand why unprotected sex is so dangerous. Many parents are embarrassed to talk to their teens about sex and other parents do not want to think about their teen being sexually active. Often, schools do not have enough funds to provide comprehensive sexual health education either. When parents and schools fail to teach teens about sex, teens do not have the chance to learn more about STDs, as well as how to prevent them.
Teen girls can be more prone to STDs because they do not feel comfortable asking their partner to use a condom. Teen boys might not want to admit that they carry condoms with them because it can send the message that they are having sex with more than one partner. To save face, many teens will skip that conversation and have unprotected sex. If sex is unplanned, teens might also be too embarrassed to stop in the heat of the moment to talk to their partner about protection.
Teens are more likely to have multiple sex partners, according to KidsHealth. One factor is that many teens start having sex at a young age, which can increase the number of partners they have during their teen years. The more partners a teen has the greater risk she will contract an STD from one of those partners. In fact, a teen can contract more than one STD at a time, and that is more likely when a teen has intercourse or oral sex with more than one partner at a time. Teens need to understand that condoms are the only way to prevent the spread of STDs, and if your teen is sexually active, she needs to wear one each and every time she has sex.
Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol have a factor in the sexual habits of teens, as well. When a teen is drinking alcohol or taking drugs, their judgment is not always what it should be, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. If sex is involved, they are less likely to remember a condom or have the self-confidence to stop before it is too late. Taking drugs and alcohol also increases the risk that teens will have sex with someone they normally would not or someone they do not know.
- Center for Young Women's Health: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs): General Information
- KidsHealth: About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: The Lowdown on STIs
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)