Parents

The Facts

Sexually Transmitted Diseases [STDs] 

Anyone who has had sex or is currently engaging in sexual activity may be at risk for an STD. Most STDs are asymptomatic, meaning that a person may have an STD, but are free of any symptoms. Although a sexual partner may not have visible sores, blisters, or pimples in their genital area, they may still have an STD. While many STDs are curable, some are not and carry emotional and physical consequences that can last a lifetime. Sexually active teens should talk to their health care provider and a parent or trusted adult about regular testing. 

Common symptoms (if present) of STDs include: 

  • Bumps, rash, warts, or sores on or near the genital area
  • Unusual discharge (in color, texture, amount, or odor) in males or females
  • Pain, burning, or itching in the pubic area
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain in the abdominal area 

STDs can be caused by a virus or bacteria.  

Bacterial STDs are caused by a bacteria or parasite and are curable with proper medication. These STDs include:

Chlamydia

  • The most frequently reported bacterial STD
  • Symptoms show up 7-28 days after having sex
  • Symptoms could include discharge from the penis or a burning sensation when urinating in men and abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating in women
  • Most infected people will have no symptoms (asymptomatic)
  • If not treated, complications can include Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women and infertility/sterility in both men and women
  • Can be passed to babies during childbirth
  • Is curable with antibiotics  (medication)

Gonorrhea

  • The second most common STD
  • Symptoms show up 2-21 days after having sex
  • Symptoms could include burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis in men, and increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods in women
  • Most women do not have symptoms (asymptomatic)
  • Some men have no symptoms
  • Can be passed to babies during childbirth
  • Is curable with antibiotics (medication)

Syphilis

  • There are 3 stages of syphilis and symptoms vary in stages. Symptoms include:
    1. Stage I – appearance of a firm, round, and painless chancre (sore) at the infection site
    2. Stage II – rash on palms of hands, soles of feet, and on the body
    3. Stage III – difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, dementia, damage to internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints
  • There is an incubation period of 10-90 days (average 21 days)
  • Can cause infections in men, women and unborn babies during pregnancy
  • Is curable with antibiotics

Trichomoniasis

  • “Trich” is the most common curable STD in young, sexually active women
  • An estimated 7.4 million new cases occur each year in women and men
  • Symptoms show up 5-28 days after infection, but many people have no symptoms
  • Symptoms could include itching or irritation inside the penis, burning after urination or ejaculation, or some discharge from the penis in men and itching, burning, redness, or soreness of the genitals, discomfort with urination, or thin discharge with an unusual smell that can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish in women
  • Is curable with medication

 

Viral STDs are caused by a virus. These STDs are not curable, but their symptoms can be controlled with medication or proper medical treatment. These STDs include:

Herpes 

  • Genital herpes is very common. In the US, about 1 in 5 adults have it (about 50 million people) and most do not know they have it
  • Spread from skin-to-skin contact through oral, vaginal or anal sex with someone who has symptoms (an outbreak)
  • Can also spread between outbreaks or when there are no symptoms present (this is called “asymptomatic viral shedding”)
  • Medication may be given to reduce effects of symptoms, but there is no cure for genital herpes

HIV/AIDS

  • HIV is a virus that destroys a person’s immune system and allows numerous infections and cancers to develop
  • If HIV is left untreated, a person could develop AIDS
  • Symptoms vary in stages and include severe flu-like symptoms such as swollen glands, night sweats, specific cancers and infections
  • It can take a few months to several years from initial infection with HIV to develop AIDS, with the average time being 11 years
  • There is no cure for HIV/AIDS and no vaccine to prevent it, but there are medications to help treat specific symptoms, cancers and disease/infections
  • There are also medications to help reduce the amount of the virus in a person, although these medications won't cure someone of HIV, it can help them live a long life
  • A person should get tested at least once a year if they are engaging in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex or sharing needles of any kind, even those used for piercing and tattoos

HPV

  • There are many types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV); about 40 types are sexually transmitted and cause genital HPV in both men and women.
  • Genital HPV is passed on through oral, anal and vaginal sex, or intimate skin to skin contact with an infected person
  • Low-risk HPV types can cause genital warts
  • High-risk HPV can cause serious cervical sores, cervical cancer and other genital cancers
  • Most HPV infections are asymptomatic, meaning a person might not have any symptoms of infection
  • There is no cure for HPV, however there is a vaccine to help prevent infection and medications to treat the symptoms if present
  • Unfortunately, there is no test for men, unless symptoms are present. Sexually active women should receive routine Pap Smears and Well Women Exams from their health care provider

Hepatitis B

  • A contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  • The incubation period (the time of exposure to the onset of symptoms) can be anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months  
  • Spread when blood, semen or other bodily fluids, such as vaginal secretions, and saliva from an infected person enter the body of someone who is not infected
  • Symptoms include nausea, fever, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellow skin), enlarged liver
  • There is no cure for Hep B, however there is a vaccine to prevent it and medication to treat the symptoms
  • This vaccine is usually given before a young person enters the 7th grade, but can be given as early as birth. Check with your health care provider to find out if you've received the vaccine

Aside from the immediate consequences of a STD, there may also be long-term medical complications and emotional distress. STDs increase the risk of HIV infection, which is the virus that causes AIDS. Other STDs can lead to blindness, brain damage, cervical cancer, infertility, and liver disease. In addition, STDs can be passed on to newborns at birth, causing serious health complications for the infant. Those diagnosed with a STD can also suffer emotionally and struggle with embarrassment, anger, resentment, or depression. 

Source: It's your sex life  

Contraceptives 

There are many birth controls options available to help prevent pregnancy. The surest way for a person to prevent a pregnancy is to practice abstinence. However, if your teen chooses to have sex, one of the following methods can be used.  

Pills — 99% effective, 92% if not careful each time

  • A daily pill with hormones in it that prevents pregnancy
  • Must be taken at the same time each day by the woman
  • Many different kinds
  • The hormones in the pill work by:
    1. Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm.
    2. Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs.
  • Does not protect against STDs and HIV

Ortho Evra Patch— 99% effective, 92% if not careful each time

  • A small patch that sticks to your skin that prevents pregnancy
  • Hormones on the patch are absorbed directly through the skin 
  • The hormones in the patch are the same hormones that are in the birth control pill and work in the same way as the pill 
  • Is applied to the skin once a week for 3 weeks by the woman 
  • Can be applied to four different areas on the body
  • Does not protect against STDs or HIV

NuvaRing Vaginal Ring — 99% effective, 92% if not careful each time

  • A small round, flexible ring with hormones in it that is inserted into the vagina that prevents pregnancy
  • While the ring is in place in the vagina, hormones in the ring are continuously released
  • Inserted by the woman and left in place for 3 weeks
  • The hormones in the ring are the same hormones that are in the birth control pill and work in the same way as the pill  
  • Does not protect against STDs or HIV

Depo-Provera Shot — 99% effective, 97% if not careful each time

  • Hormonal shot given to the women every 3 months by a health care provider that prevents pregnancy
  • The hormones in the shot are similar to the hormones that are in the birth control pill and work in the same way as the pill  
  • Does not protect against STDs or HIV

Implanon/Nexplanon — 99% effective

  • A small, flexible plastic rod the size of a match stick that contains hormones and prevents pregnancy
  • Inserted under the skin of a women's arm by a health care provider
  • May be left in place for up to 3 years, can be removed early by a health care provider if desired
  • The hormones in the shot are similar to the hormones that are in the birth control pill and work in the same way as the pill   
  • Does not protect against STDs or HIV

Mirena Progestin US (IUD) — 99% effective

  • Small, T-shaped, flexible plastic device inserted into the uterus by a health care provider that prevents pregnancy
  • May be left in place for up to 5 years; can be removed early by a health care provider if desired
  • The hormones in the shot are similar to the hormones that are in the birth control pill and work in the same way as the pill  
  • Does not protect against STDs or HIV

ParaGard Copper IUD — 99% effective

  • Small T-shaped piece of soft, flexible plastic wrapped with copper that is inserted into the uterus
  • Prevents pregnancy primarily by stopping sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg
  • Does not stop the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulating)
  • May be left in place up to 10 years, can be removed early by a health care provider if desired
  • Does not protect against STDs or HIV

Male Condom - 98% effective if used correctly, 85% if not careful each time

  • Made from latex, polyurethane or polyisoprene
  • Helps protect against STDs and HIV
  • Worn by a man 
  • Cannot be used simultaneously with a female condom
  • Must wear a new condom with every sex act

Female condom - 95% effective if used correctly, 79% if not careful each time

  • Made from a nitrile polymer (non-latex) which is strong, soft, and heats to body temperature
  • Helps protect against STDs and HIV 
  • Worn by a woman inside her vagina 
  • Cannot be used simultaneously with a male condom
  • Must wear a new condom with every sex act