While sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) affect individuals of all ages, STDs take a particularly heavy toll on young people. Youth ages 13-24 in Saint Lucia make up just over one quarter of the sexually active population, many young people are hesitant to talk openly and honestly with a doctor or nurse about their sex lives. STD’s are diseases that are passed from one person to the next through sexual contact (ANAL, ORAL OR VAGINAL). Some don’t show symptoms for a long time but are harmful and passed on during sex.
If your partner has an STD, be sure to protect yourself or wait till your partner is cured from it, most times you don’t have to go all the way to get infected, skin-to-skin contact STD’s like Herpes and HPV are easy to get. Your body is susceptible to get infected especially if you are young and have more than one sex partner.
Be sure to protect yourself against STD’s, by not having sex. It is ok to say no if you are not ready to have sex but if you do decide to have sex, get your partner tested before hand and make sure that you and your partner use a condom from start to finish.
Condoms are sold in supermarkets. You can get them at health organizations and remember to ask how to use them correctly. It is not safe to stop using condoms unless you’ve been tested, know your status if you are in a mutually monogamous relationship. Mutually monogamous means that you and partner agree to only have sexualy contact. But talking to your partner on preventing STD’s or pregnancy is much better. Be ready to protect your body and future if you are ready to have sex. Your partner should respect your rights to say no to anything that doesn’t feel right. Both of you should get the health care you need. Ask your parents, nurses and doctors about sexually transmitted diseases.
Below are some questions and answers to help educate you better:
If I get an STD, how will I know?
Many STDs don’t cause any symptoms that you would notice, so the only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to get tested. You can get an STD from having sex with someone who has no symptoms. Just like you, that person might not even know he or she has an STD.
Where can I get tested?
There are places that offer teen-friendly, confidential, and free STD tests. This means that no one has to find out you’ve been tested. Visit the nearest health organization location near you.
Can STDs be treated?
Your doctor can prescribe medicines to cure some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Other STDs, like herpes, can’t be cured, but you can take medicine to help with the symptoms.
If you are ever treated for an STD, be sure to finish all of your medicine, even if you feel better before you finish it all. Ask the doctor or nurse about testing and treatment for your partner, too. You and your partner should avoid having sex until you’ve both been treated. Otherwise, you may continue to pass the STD back and forth. It is possible to get an STD again (after you’ve been treated), if you have sex with someone who has an STD.
What happens if I don’t treat an STD?
Some curable STDs can be dangerous if they aren’t treated. For example, if left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can make it difficult—or even impossible—for a woman to get pregnant. You also increase your chances of getting HIV if you have an untreated STD. Some STDs, like HIV, can be fatal if left untreated.
What if my partner or I have an incurable STD?
Some STDs- like herpes and HIV- aren’t curable, but a doctor can prescribe medicine to treat the symptoms. If you are living with an STD, it’s important to tell your partner before you have sex. Although it may be uncomfortable to talk about your STD, open and honest conversation can help your partner make informed decisions to protect his or her health.
If I have questions, who can answer them?
If you have questions, talk to a parent or an other trusted adult. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest with them about your concerns. If you’re ever confused or need advice, that is the first place to start. Remember, they were once young, too.
Talking about sex with a parent or another adult doesn’t need to be a one-time conversation. It’s best to leave the door open for conversations in the future.
It’s also important to talk honestly with a doctor or nurse. Ask which STD tests and vaccines they recommend for you.