STD’s, Myths and Facts – What teens (and anyone
else!) should know about Sexually Transmitted Disease in
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) are a
group of diseases that can be spread by sexual contact.
We’re sure you have heard about sexually transmitted
diseases in one way or another... at school, in the
news, on TV, in magazines, from friends, and in public
service announcements. It’s common to see ads about how
to get HIV/AIDS testing and even about treatments for
herpes, genital warts or lice on television or on the
Are there a
lot of people with them?
Each year more than 12 million cases of sexually
transmitted diseases are reported in the United States
and at least 3 million among them are from teenagers.
Teens have the highest rates of sexually transmitted
diseases of any age group. STDs are spread from one
person to another through sexual contact such as sexual
intercourse, oral-genital contact, or anal sex.
What if I
STDs must be accurately diagnosed and treated
completely. This means that if you become sexually
active or are considering becoming sexually active, you
need to have regular genital examinations by a doctor.
If you think you have an STD, or if you were with
someone sexually who might have an STD, you should see a
health care provider right away. Ask your partner to be
Some common questions you might have about STD’s
Can you get
an STD from a public restroom?
This is not very likely. Remember, most STDs are only
transmitted during sexual contact, either by skin to
skin contact or through body fluid exchange.
Can I get
HIV or another STD from getting a tattoo or through body
There can be a risk for HIV or other blood
infections (like Hepatitis B or C) if the instruments
used for piercing or tattooing either are not sterilized
or disinfected between clients. Any instrument used to
pierce or cut the skin should be used once and thrown
away, or thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before using
them again. Ask the staff at the parlor about their
equipment. They will show you what safety measures they
Can I get an STD from kissing?
This is possible but not very common. If your partner's
mouth is infected with an STD, then he or she may be
able to pass that infection to your mouth during a kiss.
Fever blisters and cold sores can be passed through a
kiss if your partner is infected, and blood-borne
infections like HIV or Hepatitis B or C can only be
passed through kissing if there is the exchange of
infected blood. If your partner has an infection in his
or her genital area, then kissing on the mouth will not
transmit the infection.
Can I get an STD from oral
Yes. During oral sex, there is skin to skin
contact and there can be body fluid exchange, so it is
important to use barrier protection like unlubricated
condoms to protect you during oral sex.
teenagers protect themselves if they are having sex?
It's not always because people don't know.
Sometimes you might. . .
be embarrassed about buying or
feel peer/date pressure
be using alcohol and drugs
have a lack of knowledge
believe using birth control pills
is enough protection
be embarrassed about asking
not think ahead of time
I think I
might have and STD. What do I do!
DO NOT PANIC – most STDs can be
treated and controlled if discovered early.
Be Smart; some STDs have NO
SYMPTOMS – you would never know you had an STD
unless you had a medical check-up. If you are
concerned, be smart, get checked.
Always use a spermicide with
condoms – condoms + Spermicides increase the
effectiveness to about 97.5%. Condoms alone can
fail as often as 1 in 5 times, so proper use as well
as using a spermicide is extremely important.
Spermicides + condoms also
prevent MANY STD’s, but not all, including HPV.
Spermicides only last about an
hour, you may need to use another dose
Never use Vaseline with a condom,
it will break down the latex and the condom could
Condom failure is more common
among teens than adults
Be sure there is about a ½ inch
space at the tip of the condom for the semen
Take the condom off immediately
after ejaculation, while still erect, to prevent
For more information
Nuts and bolts - disease
information about the most common STD's
Myths - What's true and what's
not - you need to know
If you have questions, concerns,
or want to schedule an appointment for a check-up or
test, please call your local health department office
today. Local office phone numbers and clinic schedules
are listed below.