Sexual Health For Teens = Education and Protection

Why do we need to safeguard sexual health for teens? Because the evidence is in: the growing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases shows beyond any doubt that young people are very sexually active and are often paying an unhealthy price.

A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released in March 2008 noted that more than one teen girl out of four is infected with at least one sexually transmitted infection. In hard numbers, that means 3.2 million young US women are knowingly or unknowingly carrying bacteria or fungi in their bodies that could damage their fertility, lead to cervical cancer and produce all sorts of unpleasant side effects. Boys are not immune; as either transmitters or recipients of sexually transmitted diseases, they, too, can experience both short- and long-term sexual health issues.

Sexual health for teens has been minimized by the lack of condom use-the primary tool to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections. As Calgary Sun columnist Michael Platt noted in his March 16/08 column, “An Ipsos Reid survey released in January suggested one-quarter of sexually active Canadian teens didn’t bother to use a condom during their last sexual encounter. And a majority of the teens surveyed-62%-said that they have trouble getting straight answers on safe sex.”

So how can we teach sexual health for teens? To be blunt, if teens aren’t getting “straight answers on safe sex,” they need to look harder, with the support of the adults around them.

If you’re a teen who feels sex is the right thing for you to do, you must take responsibility to protect yourself by using a condom. It’s the only way to ensure you don’t receive or pass on an infection, plus it protects you against conceiving. You also need to get whatever questions you have answered, whether by asking your parents, your doctor, a local health or birth control clinic, or searching the Internet or local bookstore for answers.

If you’re a parent of a teen, it’s your job to answer your teen’s questions-or initiate the conversation if questions aren’t forthcoming. Yes, in some families there might be embarrassment around the whole touchy topic of teen sex, but what is more important–your child’s health and safety, or your red face? There are many resources out there to help you–look for books, Internet articles or support from your doctor or local health clinic.

For more information, visit these pages:

Knowing How To Have Safe Sex Minimizes STI Fears

STD Symptoms: Get Your Facts

Paying Attention To Male Sexual Health Issues Can Keep You Ready For Love

Keep Yourself Safe From Sexually Transmitted Infections

Lesbian Sexual Health – Busting Myths To Stay Healthy And Risk-free

Health Benefits of Sex Make Making Love Worth It

Breast Cancer Awareness Should Be Part Of Everyone’s Health Knowledge

Is Breast Cancer Prevention Possible?

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