Young people aged 15 to 24 years acquire half of all new STDs and 1 in 4 sexually active adolescent females have an STD.
Sexually active adolescents aged 15 to 19 years and young adults aged 20 to 24 years are at higher risk of acquiring STD's (according to Center for Disease Control)
The statistics are just that - statistics. They don't really tell the story of how awful an STD can be. I received a call on my radio show, Dawson McAllister Live.
He told me his story - he and his friend went to Vegas one weekend to party. One night at a party, he got really drunk and had unprotected sex with a stranger.
When he got home, he realized he had contracted genital herpes. Once you get herpes, you have it for life. IT is not curable. He said to me, "I always thought what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas." I said to him, "Not an STD. They will follow you everywhere."
I received a really wise comment from a caller. Megan told me, "I think a lot of people walk around and they might have an STD, but they don't know because they haven't been tested. That's the danger of it because It's not an open thing for everybody. In a way I'm scared to have sex because I'm scared of getting an STD. I have been warned from my parents about it and I've read books about it. It's always possible, even if you are being careful, to get pregnant or get an STD. The best thing is to not have sex, but we all know many teenagers are having sex. So, the best thing is to have protection and try to find out about your partner's sexual history as much as possible. Be in the know-it will benefit you in the long run." Megan is wisely cautious, and she realizes nothing outside of abstinence is a sure-fire way to be protected from STDs.
And STD's do not discriminate. EVERYONE can get them. Here is a true story:
"I was diagnosed with genital herpes about a year ago. I am only 20 now. I never would have in my life thought this could happen to me. It has changed my entire life forever. I no longer can date as I used to, or even at the most best relationships, be as intimate as I used to could be."
This is a VERY common disease and most people do not know the facts about it. 1 out of 5 people are said to have genital herpes. And 70% of people who contract this disease, get it from a partner who has absolutely NO SIGNS of it...and as with any std, it only takes one time to catch one.
There are so many people who are ignorant of STDs. Their ignorance puts them in true danger. That is why I want to talk to you about STDs, so you can be protected from something that could ruin your life.
The best way to think about STDs is to view them as one of your worst enemy. STDs don't care whether you are rich, poor, black, white, educated, uneducated, male, or female. It just wants to spread its cruel wings on as many people as possible. One reason STDs seem to be winning the war on teenagers and young adults (with more victims everyday) is sheer ignorance. Few people really know who this enemy is and what to do about it. The ONLY way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. So let's get real and talk about STDs. Here is a partial list of some of the STDs that could attack you:
- Bacterial Vaginosis is an infection caused when too much of a certain bacteria changes the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina. Pregnant women with BV are more likely to have babies who are born premature (early) or with low birth weight than women who do not have BV while pregnant.
- Chancroid is a painful genital ulcer and in advanced cases, scarring can result.
- Chlamydia can infect both men and women. It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on. Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy.
- Crabs are parasites or bugs that live on the pubic hair and cause itching.
- Gonorrhea can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 years. A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.
- Hepatitis is an incurable disease that affects the liver. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer.
- Herpes is a recurrent incurable skin condition. Sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take weeks to heal. These symptoms are sometimes called having an outbreak.The first time someone has an outbreak they may also have flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, or swollen glands. When the sores come into contact with the mouth, vagina, or rectum during sex, they increase the risk of giving or getting HIV if you or your partner has HIV.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an incurable virus which causes the immune system to fail.
- Human Papillomavirus/Genital Warts is an incurable virus that affects the skin in the genital area, as well as a female's cervix. HPV can cause cervical and other cancers.
- Molluscum Contagiosum is a skin disease usually causing lesions or bumps.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of a woman's reproductive organs. It can cause formation of scar tissue both outside and inside the fallopian tubes, infertility (inability to get pregnant) and long-term pelvic/abdominal pain.
- Scabies is an infestation of the skin by a microscopic mite.
- Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body and affect the heart, brain, and nerves.
It's easy to think it won't happen to you. But just one true life story makes these STDs jump off the page and right into our lives. Like this one, I was diagnosed with HPV also known as genital warts. I have to go in every two or three weeks and have them burned off at the doctor. It's painful and believe me if I could do it over again and wait, I would wait until I'm married to have sex.
People need to realize that you don't know your partner's sexual past, it just takes one time to catch it. And even using protection still doesn't guarantee you from being protected from std's. Once you get an std the virus stays with you for the rest of your life.(Andrew)
There's an old saying that says, Ignorance is bliss. When it comes to STDs, ignorance is your enemy. and there is only one enemy bigger than that and that is the actual sexually transmitted disease. We need to say to ourselves over and over again, STDs are my enemy, and they can be deadly. What must I do to protect myself? Remember, the ONLY way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
There is no shield to protect you simply because you are young. In fact, sexually active adolescents aged 15 to 19 years and young adults aged 20 to 24 years are at higher risk of acquiring STDs for a combination of behavioral, biological, and cultural reasons. Being young is a wonderful experience. It gives you strength, energy, and a sense of invincibility. It will not however protect you from STDs.
Another caller told me, the first time I ever had sex, I ended up getting an STD. I was aware halfway through our relationship that my ex (and first sex partner) had herpes but took on the famous It could never happen to ME' attitude. A year and a half later, I was diagnosed with genital herpes. It's no fun. I have to tell any future partner about it before things get serious and have to live with the bad choices I made in the past. IT WILL ALWAYS HAUNT ME. Don't think you will never get it...play it safe, in the end you'll be happier because you educated yourself and took the precautions you needed to take to ensure your safety from STDs. (Jen)
STDs are an enemy lurking at your door, silent, cunning, and very patient. This enemy is waiting for you to make a wrong move so it can attack. And when it does, it claims its victims for life.