Teenagers: STDs and STIs

Teenagers run the highest risk of contracting STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) compared to other age groups.  This is largely do to the fact that teens are often uneducated about the dangers of unprotected sex as well they generally have multiple sex partners.  There’s also a stigma that surrounds sexually transmitted infections and diseases that usually deter teens from seeking help about prevention or treatment.

Diseases that are transmitted sexually have become so prevalent among teens that the month of April has been declared as National STD Awareness Month.  The goal is for people who are sexually active to get tested and get the facts.  Special emphasis is put on getting tested early  and getting the facts by learning the difference between STDs and STIs.

The term STD and STI are terms that typically used interchangeably by health care professionals today.  An sexually transmitted disease means that there are visible signs where the infected person feels sick and displays symptoms.  F or example, both men and women who are infected may experience a burning sensation when they urinate or a discharge from the genital area.

On the other hand a sexually transmitted infection means that germs, bacteria or a virus that already exists in a person’s body has the potential to cause a disease or illness at some later point.  There may be no visible signs with someone who has contracted an STI.  The likelihood of a person passing on the disease is increased because they don’t even know they’re infected.

Teens should not let the idea of being embarrassed keep them from seeking medical attention.  Time is typically not on your side if you have a sexually transmitted disease or infection.  Delay in seeing a medical professional could create life long and potentially irreversible damage.  If you even mildly suspect you have an STD or that your partner may be infected you should seek medical attention right away.

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