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AS SEEN ON TV: General

11 Apr 2019
All teens need to know on STIs

 
 

On HN9 we like shedding light on important topics and give you the tools you will need to navigate this ever changing world. This week on HN9 we taking about teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Sometime our parent can feel awkward about talking about sex. On today’s blog we give you the 411 on STIs. How are they transmitted? And how can they be prevented? Here’s what you need to know.

 

1. You don’t have to have sex to get an STI.

 

The misconception among teenagers is that STIs are only spread through sexual intercourse. In fact, most STIs are spread via exposure to fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids and blood and, as a result, can be contracted through (vaginal) sexual intercourse, but also via anal sex and oral sex. Some STIs, like herpes or genital warts, can be transmitted through just skin-to-skin contact with an infected area.

 

2. The most common STIs in teenagers are chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are both bacterial STIs that are transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They can be contracted by both males and females. Both infections are curable when treated with antibiotics. Patients with chlamydia and gonorrhoea are often asymptomatic. The symptoms are often burning when urinating, virginal or penile discharge with a bad smell or vaginal irritation.

Other common STIs and their symptoms include:

 

  • Trichomoniasis — Caused by a parasite and spread via genital contact. Symptoms include discharge, itching, burning or sore genitals.

 

  • Genital herpes — One of the most common STIs and spread through sexual intercourse, as well anal sex and oral sex. Symptoms include painful, burning or itching skin in genital area; burning during urination; blister-like sores in genital area.

 

  • Syphilis — Early stage syphilis looks like a sore, followed by a rash. Later stages of the infection are often asymptomatic, until it reappears causing serious health issues, even death. Transmitted via vaginal, anal and oral sex.

 

  • HPV — Another extremely common STI. In fact, it’s estimated up to 50 percent of people who’ve had sex have had HPV. Symptoms depend on the type of HPV. HPV is often asymptomatic, but some forms cause genital warts, while others can lead to cancers or the cervix, penis, and anus. There is now a vaccine to prevent the cancer-causing strains of HPV.

 

  • HIV — The STI that left untreated can progress to AIDs. Early signs of HIV infection are similar to the flu.

 

3. Some STIs can be cured with antibiotics.

These include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.

 

4. There are also STIs that can’t be cured.

These include genital herpes and HIV. Both can be treated, but there is no known cure (yet) for these SDIs.

 

5. Not treating STIs can lead to serious health problems.

HIV leads to AIDS and syphilis, left untreated, also leads to severe health issues, even death. But not treating more common STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhoea, can also cause significant health problems. For women, this includes pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is an infection of the reproductive system. The infection can travel from the vagina to the cervix and into the uterus. PID can cause damage to the reproductive system and is a leading cause of infertility in women. Men can also become infertile from untreated STIs as a result of an infection of the male reproductive system.

 

6. Sexually active teenagers should be tested for STIs.

In general, it’s important to get tested if you’re sexually active. And it’s not just a one-and-you’re-done proposition.

 

7. STIs are preventable.

Use a condom. The best defence for anal or vaginal intercourse is a condom. For oral sex, you can use a condom, a dental dam, or even saran wrap (yes, it’s true). Other forms of birth control — the pill, the implant, an IUD — do not provide protection from STIs.

 

So there you go. You need to be open about sex and feel free to ask an adult or health professional on your sexual health options. Friends are not the best of most reliable source of information for such topics as they are also learning and trying to navigate the same issues as you.

 

We hope this has shed some light into your world and help you with future choices

 

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