Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases are common among sexually active teens, and should be given more consideration. Teens should be more aware of what STDs are out there, and that they should be doing to get tested and to be protected against them.

What are STD’s:

STDs are sexually transmitted diseases. They are usually viral, and often have serious side effects, symptoms, etc.

A look at the common STD’s:

BV – Bacterial Vaginosis: This is a sexually transmitted disease common for teen girls, it occurs when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria. The most common symptoms are pain, itching, burning, discharge, and odor. It is sometimes confused with yeast infections.

Chlamydia and LGV: Most teens have heard of Chlamydia. This STD can damage a woman’s reproductive organs, and make it impossible for them to have children in the future. This is an STD that is often not taken seriously because the symptoms are so mild, and in some cases absent. However, this disease can cause irreversible damage. In a man it often causes infection in the penis which results in discharge.

Gonorrhea: This is another commonly heard of STD among teens. It is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is a bacterium. This particular bacterium multiplies quickly, especially in warm, moist areas. So, it spreads quickly in the reproductive tract of a female, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. It also affects the urethra (urine canal) in both women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus. Symptoms of this STD are a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis. Sometimes men with gonorrhea get painful or swollen testicles as well.

Genital Herpes:  This is an STD commonly joked about, but very common. The reason is that most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms so it spreads easily. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum depending on where the herpes is located. The blisters can break and leave tender ulcers.

HPV or the Human Papillomavirus Infection: This is caused by viruses which are sexually transmitted, and infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva, or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. This infection may not show symptoms, but can cause problems with your reproductive tract. Many people will overcome the infection on their own.

Syphilis: This is a common STD that does not have many signs and symptoms, but it can be spread to an infant if you have it and get pregnant. It is also bad for the reproductive tract.

Trichomoniasis: This is a very common STD in teen girls, and puts them at higher risk of getting HIV infected. This is because it causes genital inflammation which increases her susceptibility to HIV.

Avoiding STD’s:

The best and only real way to avoid STDs is through abstinence. Other good ways is to minimize the number of sexual partners you have, as well as who you have sex with. In addition, it is wise to have all partners tested before you have sex with them.

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