Who’s The Most At Risk For STDs?
Scientists cannot really say if you are at increased risk of STDs, since some types of diseases are more prevalent in some groups, locations and communities than others. When it comes to STDs, the risk is not really about where you live or who you are, but about what you do.
Of course, locations with biggest rates of STDs patients increase the risk of getting the disease, but at the end, it all comes down to whether you practice unprotected sex and who you have relations with.
Generally speaking, everyone can get infected with STDs. However, the biggest percentage (50%) of new STD patients happen in adolescents, i.e. people aged 15 to 24 years.
STDs and Adolescents
Adolescents account for half of all cases of STDs every year. Statistics say that two in five teenage girls that are sexually active have an STD that, if not treated, can result in infertility.
As we said, it is not that much of an age group than of attitude. Even though most STDs are most prevalent in adolescents, HIV is very low among this age group. In the case of HIV, males make up for more than 80% of all diagnoses among people who are 13 to 19 years old.
Since STDs often do not have a sign or symptom you can notice at the beginning, regular STD screenings are critical. Now that adolescents are considered to be most at risk because of their lifestyle, they are recommended to get screened as often as possible.
Protecting Adolescents from STDs
Parents need to do their best to prevent their kids from contracting a sexually transmitted disease, but adolescents are the ones who have to make these decisions and protect themselves against it when the time comes. Therefore, a parent must advise their child, as well as educate them to never have unprotected sex with another person.
Some parents advise their children to abstain from sexual contact, even when the adolescents are ready to become sexually active. When this happens, parents fail to teach their children about the risk of STDs. Unfortunately, this may lead the young adult to hiding their sexual relations from the parents altogether, and practice unprotected sex because they are not educated enough or are too shy to purchase protection.
What is the best measure?
If an adolescent decides to become sexually active or is already sexually active, you should teach them to:
- Have a monogamous sexual relationship with a partner that has been tested and is not infected
- Use protection such as condoms, even when they practice oral sex
- Prevent and control existing STDs to decrease the susceptibility to an HIV infection
- Delay the sexual relationship until they come of age. The younger a person is, the more susceptible they are to getting infected
- Have regular checkups for all common STDs
- Recognize the symptoms of STDs
- Avoid having intercourse during their period (for females)
These conversations can be very tricky and uncomfortable for a parent, but if you do not have them with your child, how do you expect them to get informed on protection and the danger of sexually transmitted diseases?
Learn how to tell your adolescent child about sex and sexual health and start educating them as soon as possible.
Facts about Adolescents and STDs
- Sexually transmitted diseases can affect both men and women, of any economic level or background. However, half of all new cases happen in people under the age of 25.
- The reason why adolescents are most at risk of developing an infection is their lifestyle. Young people are known to have sexual intercourse more than anyone else, as well as change their sexual partners. In addition to this, many adolescents are often under the influence of alcohol and drugs, which puts them at higher risk of having unprotected sex and getting infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
- At this point, sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, especially since the number of sexually active people who have sex with multiple partners during their lives has grown drastically.
- The majority of STDs cause no symptoms to start with. In addition to this, even when a person knows the most common symptoms, these can often be confused with other diseases. Therefore, a doctor must be informed on your sexual life and if an adolescent believes they may have been infected, they need to request screening immediately.
- Even the STDs that do not have symptoms can be contagious.
- When left untreated, some STDs can cause serious health problems, chronic infections, and even lead to death.
- The symptoms of STDs are more severe and frequent in the female population.
- Some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases can spread into the womb and the fallopian tubes. If not detected and treated in time, these can cause pelvic inflammatory disease.
- A severe, untreated pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and even cancer.
- Some known strains of the common HPV infection in women may lead to cervical cancer.
- Many HPV strains can cause head, anal and neck cancer, both in females and males.
- In the case a woman is pregnant and infected with an STD, she may pass the infection to her baby before or during birth. This of course, depends on the infection, but many infections can be very harmful and even fatal for the newborn.
- Some of the infections that are being transmitted from a mother to a newborn child can be treated successfully. Others may cause the baby to be disabled or suffer from chronic health problems.
- Most of the STDs can be successfully treated once diagnosed. Some cannot be completely cured, but can be controlled.
Having a sexually transmitted disease is a serious problem for the infected person. Therefore, people must take regular screenings for the sexually transmitted diseases, especially those who practice unprotected sex or change sexual partners often. Seeing that adolescents are most at risk of these infections, this is the group that has to be tested more often than anyone else.