How to Talk to Your Teens about STD


Just as they will resist accepting the need for birth control young people will often shy away from recognizing that they might be at risk of STDs. These are thought to be associated only with casual sex and dirty people – and have no relevance to their romantic love. In talking about this with your young people, it is therefore important to be able to put aside the moral overtones that we often place on STDs. They are not diseases that are a punishment for wrong doing, or a result of ‘bad’ sex. AIDS virus does not know its carrier is gay, and gonorrhea is unable to check whether its new victim is experienced or a virgin before taking up residence. Indeed, you can catch an STD on your wedding night as a virgin from your virgin-but-for-one-experience spouse!

There are quite a few infections of the reproductive organs that are not actually sexually transmitted – such as Thrush or Cystitis. Terrified of being accused of misbehaving, many teenagers suffer these in silence rather than go for advice to a doctor or speak to their parents.

Teens about STD

It has been said that, with AIDS hanging over them, the next generation will have to be more responsible and less promiscuous in their sexual relationships. However, human beings respond badly and illogically to threats. Recent surveys have shown that young people are aware of the risks of AIDS. They know that it is no longer confined to a ‘high-risk’ group of people, but can affect anyone, and that there are certain activities to be avoided and precautions to be taken. However, hardly any of them are acting on that knowledge.

We all, and teenagers more than most, see ourselves as immortal – the unthinkable only happens to other people. Unless we can help our teenagers to see genital infections as something that any sexually active person can catch, and indeed in some cases develop spontaneously without having to be passed on, we do not help them. Unless we are willing to teach them the practicalities of safer sex, we do not protect them. By all means, urge them to be chaste. But also urge them to be choosey if they won’t be chaste, and to take precautions. Non-penetrative love play- ‘petting’ or mutual masturbation – is safer than intercourse. If sex is to take place, then it should be with a barrier method, and one of the spermicidal creams or gels that contains nonoxynol-9, an ingredient that appears to destroy the AIDS virus and other STDs.

If the thought of giving such advice appalls you, consider this. That your son of daughter remains a quiet and obedient virgin until marriage may not be within your power. Your choice may be between having a healthy, live teenager who is doing something with which you disagree, or one who is sterile from a hidden, untreated infection or dying from AIDS. Which would you prefer?

It would be helpful for young people to be aware of the symptoms that might indicate a genital infection, whether sexually transmitted or not, and for them to feel able to ask a doctor for advice and help. In girls, a musky-smelling fluid that dries to a white or cream stain on the pants is more than likely to be normal vaginal lubrication. However, any vaginal discharge that is yellow or green, has a foaming or curd-like consistency and smells positively unpleasant should be investigated. So should a discharge from the penis, or pain on passing water, itching or rashes in the genital area of either sex.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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