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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.
Common signs and symptoms of an STD include the following:
Your child may have one or more of the following depending on the STD he has:
- Blisters, warts, sores, or a rash on your skin that may be painful
- Discharge from the penis, vagina, or anus that may have a foul smell
- Fever, muscle pain, or swollen lymph nodes in the groin
- Inflammation and itching of the skin
- Pelvic or abdominal pain, or pain during sex or when urinating
- Sore throat, mouth ulcers, or trouble swallowing
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting after sex in females
Seek care immediately 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.
Treatment for an STD
depends on the STD that your child has. Your child may be given antibiotics if the STD is caused by bacteria. He may be given antivirals if it is caused by a virus. Your child may also be given antifungals for a fungal infection, such as a yeast infection. Early treatment may decrease your child's risk for certain cancers and prevent infertility.
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.