Privileged. Bold. Smart. Stylish. Tech-gurus.
Those are a few of the peculiar traits known about the present day teenager. What took eons of years to be decrypted by kids in the 80’s is just a screen-touch away to a 2000’s teenager. In this age of fast foods, zapping cars, quick connections, virtual classrooms, live streaming of events and everything getting speedy, the teen of today is already getting some bites of the forbidden fruit kept originally for adulthood. Not a thing stays beyond their reach for a long time, unless such hasn’t been created or is yet to be launched as a software.
This overview should have ended with a rusty piece of advice for the oldies, to be a little more accommodating of their younglings as this is their time. Regrettably, this article is not for adults; it is strictly dedicated to teenagers. With the full support of public health professionals, parents should take this seriously.
Venereal diseases are real
Let them sound like clichés. The only problem is that they cannot be wished away. They are as real as the air we breathe.
Beyond infections, Sexually Transmitted Infections are as progressive as any hot-blooded teenager. These infections always end as diseases, cutting short many blossoming dreams for the future. It is no more a myth that before age 15, an average American teenager has had a taste of sex, one way or the other.
The attendant risks he/she is involved in are influenced by family background, psychological disposition, biological makeup, social association, and school-related affairs. The American teenager of the today was yet to be conceived when the scourge of HIV kept genitals locked behind zippers for fear of early deaths. But that was then, way back in the 80s and 90s.
With better palliative care and improved life expectancy for HIV patients, the once-deadly virus can no more be taken seriously as it was before. Also, abstinence-only sex education has lost its appeal to almost every school-age teenager, including those who cannot remember what it feels like to be without sex.
More so, the emphasis on abstinence for protection against unplanned pregnancy has created the needed excuse for frequent anal and oral sex in order to keep up with societal expectations. Teenage girls have become vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections from using contraceptives without condom-shields as safety measures against pregnancy. Little effort is made towards teaching about sex-related infections compared to the focus on teenage pregnancy.
As reported by the US Department of Health and Human Service, 25% of teenagers who are sexually active have had a sexually transmitted disease at one time or the other. In effect, teenagers constitute close to half of the 20 million new cases of STDs in the United States, yearly.
What are Venereal Diseases?
Simply put, they are diseases that can be spread from one person to another through bodily sexual contact. They are also known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). As long as there is sex involved, there is an STD to be wary of. The kind of sexual contact referred to include vaginal sex, anal sex, and oral sex. Simply frolicking with one another’s genitals can give one a sexually transmitted infection. These infections/diseases include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis A or B.
Public health officials are concerned that teenagers are very much likely to suffer from these diseases because of reasons that include:
- Teenagers hardly get themselves tested for STDs. They are afraid of being found out by their caregivers
- Those willing to get tested may not be covered by insurance and may find it difficult to travel long distances to access free testing clinics
- They are not armed with the adequate knowledge about STDs through proper sex education
- Healthcare providers seem intimidating to teenagers. This makes them withhold vital information surrounding their sexuality and sex lives
- Teenagers are more given to trying out activities that are capable of exposing them to STDs. Such activities include having casual sex with more than one partner and anonymous sexual hook-ups
How Can You Know It Is A Venereal Disease?
If there were known definite symptoms of venereal diseases/STDs, this news wouldn’t have been very urgent. Truth is, STDs have no noticeable symptoms; they copy the signs and behaviors of common illnesses like flu, sore throat, sores’ breakout on the skin, etc.
That is why every sexually active teenager should create an allowance for STD screening/testing in his/her heart from time to time. Without symptoms, STDs pass on during sex or in sexual contacts. The only time something wrong is noticed is when a complication must have developed from an untreated STD.
What Is The Essence Of This Message?
The heart of this message is for protection and prevention from the complications of STDs.
- The safest way to avoid STDs is through sexual abstinence and by keeping away from risks and places that could make you have sex against your will
- If you are have chosen to be sexually active, practice safe sex by using condoms
- Even with contraceptives and condoms, getting tested for STDs keep you steps ahead of any danger-seeking STD. When detected in time, the infection that could have been a disease would be effectively treated. Many sexual health clinics are funded by the federal government to provide testing for free – even for the uninsured
- Teenage girls should be open to discuss with their doctors or nurses about a regular screening of the cervix for cervical cancer, chlamydia, and gonorrhea
- Maintain a mutually monogamous relationship. Avoid having more than one sexual partner. Do not get involved in anonymous hook-ups. They are in themselves, dangerous
- Be honest and open about your sexual orientation and behavior with/to your healthcare provider. Your life will always be thankful to you
- When you test positive for a sexually transmitted infection, ensure you get treated immediately. Avoid having sex until your treatment is complete. Inform your partner/s about getting tested and treated
What Happens When Venereal Diseases Are Not Treated?
Complications arise. Simple!
If chlamydia and gonorrhea are not treated in girls, chances of getting pregnant are zero; fertility is lost. In other words, HIV could progress to AIDS. Untreated STDs can make boys become sterile and in certain cases, they can lose their genitals to severe ulcerative damages.
Venereal diseases are attracted to teenagers. Be warned!