STDs: what teens can do to protect themselves

Gavin Batley, Reporter

Every year within the United States more than 24 million people contract some form of an sexually transmitted disease (STD) , most of which range from 15-24 years old, according to the CDC. The most commonly given advice to prevent STDs is abstinence. Although this is true as people are far less likely to contract an STD if one is not having sex, one should also consider available options for those who are participating in sexual activities. 

According to the CDC, the most effective and common way aside from abstinence to prevent both STDs and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) along with pregnancy is a male condom. Condoms are 98% effective if used properly in preventing the transfer of an STD or STI to another person.

“Practice safe sex by using a barrier such as a condom every single time you engage in sexual activity,” Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber Amy Schroeder at ThedaCare said.

Practicing safe sex is key to preventing the spread of STDs or STIs. Protection from STDs and STIs is a very important aspect of a sexually active teen’s life. 

Teens should be careful when consuming drugs or alcohol before partaking in sexual activities as this can impair one’s judgement. According to WebMD if said person has a problem with drug or alcohol abuse, get help. People who are intoxicated or on drugs often fail to have safe sex. 

Part of solving the issue of STDs is getting them treated if possible and people are more likely to go in and get checked or treated if they are comfortable with doing so. It’s important that students who have never had an STD also have this knowledge.

“There’s a lot of negative stigma around it [which] definitely makes it harder to want to seek help,” junior Ashley Elfrank said.

People of all ages must also keep in mind that both parties engaging in sexual activities must be certain they want to engage in doing so and consent to said activities. If one is unsure at any time they should not partake in said activities and say no to the other participating party.

Teens that choose to engage in sexual activities should remain cautious and safe while doing so.  

“A sexually active person should have a physical done before participating in a sexual relationship and he/she should have a serious and detailed discussion with their health care provider about possible transmitted disease, potential pregnancy, and the great responsibility involved of ensuring that both yourself and your partner maintain good health and well being physically, mentally, and spiritually,” School Nurse Terri Mauel said.