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Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Adolescents


  • A sexually transmitted disease, also called an STD, is an infection that is spread by having sex. STDs are contagious diseases caused by germs, such as bacteria and viruses. The germs are spread by any form of sexual contact, including oral (mouth) and anal sex. An STD infection usually happens through contact of the mucous membrane (moist areas of the body) with infected body fluid. The germs that cause STDs are found in body fluids such as saliva, urine, blood, vaginal fluids, and semen. Breaks in the skin, an open sore, or infected skin are other ways that germs can enter the body. Common STDs in adolescents include Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, genital warts caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), and trichomoniasis. Other STDs include hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, pubic lice, and scabies.
  • Signs and symptoms of an STD may include having sores or a discharge in the genital area. Your teenaged child may also have fever, headache, muscle pain, or swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes there are no symptoms and your teenager can spread an STD without knowing it. Your teenager may need different tests to see what kind of infection he has. These include blood tests, culture, smear test, and urine test. Treatment for STD, such as medicine to kill the germs, depends on the cause. Currently there is no treatment available to cure some STDs, such as herpes, HIV, or viral hepatitis. For these STDs, treatment is aimed at controlling the effects of the infection. With treatment, STD can be cured or controlled, and further spread of the infection may be prevented.


Your teenaged child has the right to plan his care with confidentiality. This means that he may get the care he needs without the need for his caregiver to let you know. This right of your child holds strong unless the life of your child or others may be in danger, or in a case of abuse. When this happens, your help will be needed to plan your child' care. You and your child must learn about his health condition and how it may be treated. You and your child may then discuss treatment options with caregivers. Work with them to decide what care is best for your child. Your child has the right to refuse certain procedures or treatment.


Medicines for treatment of STD may cause side effects. Your teenaged child may get an allergic reaction, and have itching, redness, and swelling in his skin. Even after treatment, his symptoms or infection may not disappear at once, may still continue, or may come back later on. If left untreated, he could pass the infection to his sex partner, especially if he does not practice safe sex. The germs causing your female child's STD may spread and could damage her female organs, such as the fallopian tubes. This could lead to having a tubal pregnancy or prevent her from ever being able to get pregnant. Some viral infections, such as hepatitis B or HIV, can cause serious (very bad) illness and lead to death. STDs are more easily cured or controlled if found and treated as soon as possible. Call your child's caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your child's disease, care, or treatment.


Informed consent:

A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Intravenous line:

An intravenous (IV) line is a tube placed in your child's vein for giving medicine or liquids. This tube is capped or connected to tubing and liquid.


Your child may be given any of the following kinds of medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Antiviral medicine: This medicine may be given to fight an infection caused by a germ called a virus. Antiviral medicine may help to decrease the number of days your child is sick.


Your teenaged child may need any of the following:

  • Blood tests: Your child may need blood taken for tests. The blood is tested to see how your child's body is doing. It can give your child's caregivers more information about his health condition. Your child may need to have blood drawn more than once.
  • Culture: This is a test to grow and identify the germ that is causing your child's infection. A sample may be taken by rubbing a cotton swab on the area or taking a sample of fluid discharge.
  • Smear test: A sample, such as discharge, is taken from the affected area and checked under the microscope. This will help caregivers learn what is causing your child's condition.
  • Urine test: A sample of your child's urine is collected and sent to a lab for tests.

Vital signs:

This includes taking your child's temperature, blood pressure, pulse (counting his heartbeat), and respirations (counting his breaths). To take your child's blood pressure, a cuff is put on his arm and tightened. The cuff is attached to a machine which gives your child's blood pressure reading. Caregivers may listen to his heart and lungs by using a stethoscope. Your child's vital signs are taken so caregivers can see how he is doing.

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.