Talk to Your Teens About STDs
Have an open and honest discussion with them.
By Celia Alviso, RN, CPNP-PC
Pediatric Primary Care Clinic
Center for Children & Families
April is Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness month. It is also a time to take action and start a conversation with your teenagers.
What are STDs?
Diseases that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact (vaginal, oral, anal). These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and HIV. Many of these STDs do not show symptoms for a long time and you often do not know that you have a disease unless you get tested. (cdc.gov)
- Newborn syphilis cases have more than doubles since 2013 with 918 cases being reported in 2017.
- Gonorrhea diagnoses increased 67 percent overall and nearly doubled among men. Increases in diagnoses among women, and the speed with which they are increasing, are highly concerning, with cases going up for the third year in a row.
- Chlamydia remained the most common condition reported to CDC. More than 1.7 million cases were diagnosed in 2017, with 45 percent of these cases being among the 15 to 24 year old females. (cdc.gov)
What to do if you are a parent of a teenager?
- Sit down with your teenager/adolescent and have an open and honest discussion with them. Remind them that you were once a teenager yourself.
- Create an environment of approachability. Leave the door open to them and remind them that there is nothing to be embarrassed about and that talking about sex is never a one-time conversation.
- Remind them that the best way to prevent an STD is to not have sex and that some people with an STD have no signs or symptoms. An STD can be spread the first time they have sex.
- Schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for a well-child visit and encourage your teenager to ask any additional questions. This is a great opportunity for your pediatrician to reinforce information and provide further education.
Where can you get more information?
- CDC How You Can Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- STD information and referrals to STD Clinics CDC-INFO
- 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)
- TTY: 1-888-232-6348 In English, en Español
- GirlsHealth.gov Straight talk about sexually transmitted diseases
- Kidshealth.org Talking to your teenagers about STDs
- American Sexual Health AssociationTeens and Young Adults