Educate Your Teens About STDs

Just because school is back in session does not mean your kids are going to become model citizens. Though some are just born with good common sense, many teens love to go to parties with friends, date new people, and try new things — even if it means exposing themselves to STDs.

Prevalence of STDs in the US

Did you know that the US has the highest rate of STD infection in the industrialized world? Young people, aged 15 to 24, account for 50 percent of new STDs but they represent only 25 percent 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 of the education inside and out of school, why does this still happen?

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 shown a correlation between drinking, drug use, and risky sexual behavior, but not half of the teen population. So, why would otherwise smart, sober teens risk their health, perhaps permanently, to have sex? Some researchers believe it is due to the same part of the brain that causes dangerous drug abuse. It is the logical part of the brain that weighs the pros and cons, it doesn’t fully finish developing until 25. Could it all harkens back to good old, “It won’t happen to me.” Others think it might be due to the emphasis health classes put on preventing pregnancy and pushing abstinence instead of presenting all options for safe sex.

How to Talk to Your Teens

1 in 4 teens contract a sexually transmitted disease every year, that is enough to make any parent consider whether it will be their child. You know your kids don’t want to talk about it and neither do you but it’s important. You don’t have to ask them anything personal or invasive. There are hundreds of resources online to show them and make sure they understand how essential condoms are for preventing STDs, not just pregnancy.

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