Drug Abuse, Risky Sexual Behavior & STDs

As teenagers and college students settle back into the school routine and make new friends, they may begin to have new interests. While sports and art are great activities to participate in, a portion of teens and young adults will engage in using drugs and alcohol. Continue reading “Drug Abuse, Risky Sexual Behavior & STDs” »

Teens’ Mental Health Factors in Drug Abuse & STD Risks

blog-title-aos-stay-healthy-kc-stop-teen-drug-free-worker-workplace-wellness

Scientists are exploring the intersection between mental illness, drug abuse and the transmission of STDs. It’s difficult to say where such problems begin or which one arises first. Each case is unique, and recovery may depend upon concurrently treating STDs, mental illness and drug abuse. Continue reading “Teens’ Mental Health Factors in Drug Abuse & STD Risks” »

Teens and Sex

Teenagers’ sexual habits is not exactly every parent’s favorite topic. However, if we were all honest – we’re curious. And while the birds & the bees conversation may have occurred years ago, it’s still just as uncomfortable to bring “it” up with our kids, even if they are old enough to drive, apply for college and win the Olympics. Although statistics are just that … statistics … they might provide insight into your teenager’s lifestyle. And while no statistic represents your kid, it may be the open door to an honest conversation with your teen about sex.

teen-sexual-habits

Statistics on teen sex

So – here are some of the juicy details. No, it’s not a Fifty Shades of Gray novel, however here’s some info about current teenage sex habits according to a recent CDC study:

  • The proportion of high school students who’ve had sex is 47 percent today — down a bit from 54 percent in 1991 — and they typically start at age 16.
  • About 60 percent of sexually active high school students say they used condoms the last time they had sex.
  • Black students are most likely to heed the safe-sex message, yet their condom use dropped from a high of 70 percent in 1999 to 65 percent last year.
  • Black teens showed a bigger decrease, with 60 percent sexually active today compared with 82 percent two decades ago.
  • Fifteen percent of high school students say they’ve had four or more partners.

Source: “More teens using condoms over past two years” by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press

Talking to your teens about sex

Statistically, about half of you with teenagers need to be having “the talk.” And no, we don’t mean rehashing the birds & the bees … statistics show they get that part of life. However, more serious talks need to be taking place if your teenager is engaging in sexual relationships. Conversations like:

  • how to prevent unplanned pregnancy
  • how to protect oneself in situations where alcohol (and lack of judgement) is involved
  • risks of drug use on the body and overall safety
  • importance of condom use for STD (even HIV prevention)
  • importance of routine STD testing, especially if there are multiple sexual partners

You know … all of those types of topics we parents like to avoid.

Sure, the conversations won’t be easy, however it’s our job to continue parenting our teenage kids and this falls under our duty. Be loving yet be firm. An open conversation with your teen might just be the best way to protect them.

Your Teen & STDs

We know this blog often features information about teens using drugs, but since we deal with a lot around our Kansas City labs, we thought parents also needed a “heads up” on another problem in this pubescent generation: STDs. Sure, we deal with a lot of drug tests for teens. But even more, we deal with a lot of STD tests for teens. Be an involved and informed parent. Read more…

std-testing-for-teens

Statistically, chances are high that your teen has an STD, or will eventually have one, if he or she is sexually active.

Teens & STDs

Did you know that statistically 1 out of every 4 students at your teen’s high school has an STD? Or what about the fact that statistics show 1 out of every 2 sexually active individuals will contract an STD before age 25? If you’re thinking, “surely not MY baby girl or little boy…” think again. This problem is growing day after day for more reasons than one. And while there’s not a simple solution to “fix it” right now, informed and involved parents will help.

Source:  About-STD.com

About STDs

STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease. It’s sometimes also called an STI (sexually transmitted infection), yet refers to the same thing. Certain bacterial and viral diseases are transferred via sexual activity. Typically the more sexual partners one has, the greater their risk at contracting an STD. The only way to completely avoid an STD is abstinence, even contraception will not always prevent an STD. This especially applies to birth control pills – they do not protect against STDs. STDs can be transmitted via anal or oral sex in addition to sexual intercourse.

What are Some Common STDs?

Two common STDs among teens are chlamydia and gonorrhea (also known as “The Clap.”) These are both bacterial infections that can be cleared up with an antibiotic. The HPV virus is another dangerous STD that infects many teens (and even adults) each year, as many as 40% of teens. HPV can potentially cause cancer if not vaccinated against. Teens may also be susceptible to other STDs like syphilis and herpes, which has no cure.

How Can I Know if My Teen has an STD?

First off, your teen might not even know that he or she has an STD. The reason STDs are such a growing problem is because many of them carry few symptoms, or no symptom at all. You can have an STD, pass it along, and never know – that is until complications come up later in life like infertility, miscarriage, pre-cancerous spots and more. If your teen is experiencing symptoms, some common indications might be a fever, pain when urination, tender abdomen or belly area, mouth sores and more.

To know if your teen has an STD, you first need to find out if they are sexually active. This uncomfortable conversation that no parent looks forward to must be tackled. By having a posture of open communication with your teen, find a way to talk to your teen about their sexual activity. If your teen IS sexually active, we recommend you have them STD tested at least once/year.

STD Testing Once A Year

We recommend testing your teen for an STD once each year to uncover if they’ve been exposed to chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. Some of the other STDs still carry risks, but unless they know they’ve been exposed to herpes, syphilis, etc. – these screenings can be on an as-needed basis. A pap smear is also recommended for girls who are sexually active, this will monitor any cervical cancer risks.

Let’s face it: no parent likes talking to their teens about STDs OR using drugs. However it’s our responsibility to not only approach these subjects in conversation but to also take action to protect our kids. And yes, that even means taking them to get STD tested if the situation calls for it.