STDs & Safe Sex

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What is it?
An incurable viral infection usually caused by herpes simplex virus type 2. It is highly contagious, especially when the sores are present and until they are completely healed. Since herpes sores often spread to the area around the genitals, condoms may not protect from contact with the sores.

How is it harmful?
Causes periodic eruptions of painful sores on the genitals and surrounding areas of males and females.

What are the symptoms?
Sores, fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and headaches, swollen or sore lymph nodes, burning during urination, difficulty urinating, and genital discharge. However, some people may have no symptoms at all.

What is the treatment?
There is no cure. Certain drugs may control the signs and symptoms, but they do not affect the risk, frequency or severity of outbreaks after the drug has been discontinued.


STDs: The Low Down

STDs are both common and sneaky. One in two sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25, and most of them won’t even know it. That’s because many STDs do not show any symptoms.

How can I protect against STDs?

Abstinence is the best way to protect against STDs. For those that choose to have sex, practice safe sex. That means that guys should use latex condoms during oral, vaginal and anal sex.

Should I get tested for STDs?

STDs are sneaky — often they don’t cause any symptoms, so many infected teens don’t know they’re infected. Click here to see if you should get tested.

Many Reproductive Health Centers throughout Pennsylvania offer free and confidential STD screenings for teens.

Find a teen-friendly health center near you