Help Your Teen Understand STDs

We all know that kids and teens do not become perfect angels overnight. Even as school is back in session, it’s still important to have important conversations with your teens about responsibility. Though some kids are blessed with common sense, many teens love to party with friends, date new people, and try new things, but if they’re not careful, they could be exposed to STDs. 

Prevalence of STDs in the US

Did you know that our nation has the highest rate of STD infection in the industrialized world? Young people, aged 15 to 24, account for 50% of new STDs but they represent only 25% of the sexually active population. In 2012, gonorrhea rates were highest in adolescents and young adults, the most being observed among women aged 20–24 years and 15–19 years. With all we know about STDs, why is this still the norm?

Is It Their Brains?

According to dosomething.org, 46% of American high school students have had sexual intercourse and are potentially at risk for HIV and other STDs. Research has demonstrated a correlation between drinking, drug use, and risky sexual behavior, but that doesn’t quite explain why STDs affect half of the teen population. The question remains: why would otherwise smart, sober teens risk their health, perhaps irreversibly, to have sex?

Some researchers believe it is due to the logical part of the brain that weighs the pros and cons. This section, also responsible for dangerous drug habits, doesn’t fully finish developing until 25. All bad decisions may just be traced back to good old-fashioned, “It won’t happen to me.”

Other scientists think it might be due to health classes focusing more energy on preventing pregnancy and pushing abstinence rather than presenting all options for safe sex.

How to Talk to Your Teens

1 in 4 teens end up getting a sexually transmitted disease every year. That statistic alone should be enough to make any parent consider whether it will be their child. It’s an uncomfortable talk to have, but also an important one. You don’t have to be personal or invasive if doing so will cause your teen to clam up. There are hundreds of resources online to show them and make sure they understand that they need to be thinking about preventing STDs as well as pregnancy.

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