Teens and STDs: What Parents Need to Know

Chlamydia. HPV. Herpes. Gonorrhea. They’re not easy topics to bring up with your teen, but sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates are rising among adolescents. Nearly half of all new STD cases are in young people between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Parents can help slow the rise in STD rates by talking to teens about STDs, STD prevention and the importance of STD testing — but first they need to have the facts. BeSmartBeWell.com prepares parents to talk to their kids about STDs by offering a variety of expert interviews, life story videos and resources.

“I think sometimes parents are petrified that their children are going to ask them a question and they won’t know the answer, so they don’t want to talk about it,” says Renee Jenkins, MD, past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and one of the experts featured on BeSmartBeWell.com. “So get educated.”

According to a study published earlier this year in the medical journal Pediatrics, 6 percent of young people testing positive for an STD said they never had sex. This finding suggests that some young adults do not understand how people catch STDs and that they can catch certain STDs without ever having intercourse.

BeSmartBeWell.com highlights the misunderstandings and misconceptions with Street Stories, a short video of real people answering simple questions about STDs.

BeSmartBeWell.com/STD is a website that features video interviews with health experts, as well as real people living with STDs. Parents will also find resources and tips for when and how to start a conversation about sex and safe relationships.

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Rakesh Raman