What Do I Do if My Teen Gets an STD?

Test Smartly Labs is driven to educate parents on all issues that may affect with their teens’ health. We don’t just deal with drug and alcohol testing; we also provide safe and confidential STD testing. The best way to protect your children is to be fully informed on how you can help them prevent STDs, or how to best help them if they already have one. 

Teens and STDs

Statistically, 25% of students at the average American teen’s high school has an STD. Did you know that reports show that 50% of sexually active teens and young adults will contract an STD before they turn 25? If you’re thinking, “My child would never…“, you may want to consider the possibility. This is a problem that is getting worse by the day, for more reasons than one. There’s no simple, quick fix, but informed and involved parents can definitely help turn the tide.

What do you know about STDs?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are also sometimes referred to as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), but it all means the same thing in the doctor’s office. There are bacterial and viral diseases that can be transmitted during sexual activity. Statistically speaking, the more sexual partners someone has, the greater risk they run of contracting an STD. Like with pregnancy, the only way to completely avoid an STD is abstinence; even using protection is not a 100% guarantee of safety. Birth control pills, for example, provide absolutely no protection against STDs, which can be transmitted vaginally, anally, or orally.

What are the most common STDs among teens?

Two of the STDs most often found in teens are chlamydia and gonorrhea (the colloquial term for which is “The Clap.”) Both are bacterial infections that can be treated with an antibiotic. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a dangerous STD that infects as many as 40% of teens each year, as well as affecting adults. It is important to get a vaccine against HPV to prevent more serious health risks down the road, like cancer. Syphilis is another STD that is risky for teens, and genital herpes is a common disease for which there is no cure; many carriers don’t even know they have it until it’s too late.

How will I know if my teen has an STD?

In some cases, like genital herpes, the symptoms don’t always present themselves right away, so your teen might not even know that they are infected. STDs are such a growing problem because many of them carry few symptoms or no symptoms at all. It is possible to have an STD, pass it to your next sexual partner, and never know until complications come up later in life, including infertility, miscarriage, pre-cancerous spots, and more. Some common indications that your teen may have an STD include:

  • Fever
  • Painful urination
  • Tender abdomen or belly
  • Mouth sores
  • Developing warts
  • Abnormal discharge
  • And more

The first step to finding out whether or not your teen as an STD is to find out if they are sexually active. Encourage your teen to be open and honest, and react positively when told news that may be difficult to hear. Teens are more likely to share with their parents if they feel they are talking to someone they can trust, who has their best interests at heart.

Regular STD Testing

If your teen has been sexually active, we recommend that they get STD tested at least once a year to discover if they’ve been infected with chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HIV. Many of the other STDs also carry serious risks, but screenings for herpes, syphilis, etc. can be on an as-needed basis if your teen suspects they’ve been exposed.  Gynecologists recommend that young women get a Pap smear starting when they’re 21 and continuing every 3-5 years to monitor any cervical cancer risks.

Talking to your teen about STDs and drugs can be difficult, but parents are responsible for protecting their children and keeping them informed of the dangers that come with making adult decisions.


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