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Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Adolescents


A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is also called a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An STD is an infection caused by bacteria or a virus. STDs are spread by oral, genital, or anal sex. Some examples of STDs include HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and gonorrhea. An STD can lead to cancer and infertility.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child has severe abdominal or pelvic pain.
  • Your child has genital swelling or pain, or unusual bleeding or discharge.
  • Your child has painful urination.
  • Your child has joint pain, a rash, swollen lymph nodes, or night sweats.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child's symptoms do not go away or they get worse, even after treatment.
  • Your child's partner has an STD.
  • Your child is pregnant.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


  • Medicines help treat the infection.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent the spread of an STD:

Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about the following safe sex practices:

  • Your child should not have sex with someone who has an STD. This includes oral and anal sex.
  • Encourage your child to use condoms. Have your child use a latex condom every time he has sex. Tell him to use a new condom each time.
  • Limit sexual partners. Talk to your child about his sexual partners. Encourage him to have sex with only one person.
  • Get your child screened for STDs regularly if he is sexually active. He should be tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis. Girls should get a pap smear to test for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer may be caused by certain STDs.
  • Get your child vaccinated. Vaccines may help prevent your child's risk of some STDs. Your child should get vaccinated against hepatitis B and the human papilloma virus (HPV). Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information on vaccines for STDs.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.