STDs 101

Sexually transmitted diseases affect more than 12 million Americans each year, many of whom are teenagers or young adults.

The more partners you have, the higher your chance of being exposed to HIV or other STDs. This is because it is difficult to know whether a person is infected, or has had sex with people who are more likely to be infected due to intravenous drug use or other risk factors.

Here are some good facts to keep in mind regarding STDs:

  • STDs are common. 1 in 4 teenage girls and an equally alarming number of teen guys have an STD right now.
  • STDs are treatable. All of them. Some are even curable.
  • STDs are sneaky. Most of the time an STD doesn’t produce any symptoms.
  • You cannot tell by looking at someone whether he or she is infected with HIV or another STD.
  • Using drugs and alcohol increases your chances of getting STDs because these substances can interfere with your judgment and your ability to use a condom properly
  • If you have had unprotected sex, you may have a STD and not know it.
  • If your partner has had unprotected sex, your partner may have a STD and not know it.
  • If left untreated, STDs can lead to long-term consequences, like infertility, long-term pain or cancer.

If you think you have a STD, there is something you can do about it! The only way to know for sure is to be tested.

Read: The Most Common STDs

Read: Should I get tested?

Read: Will my parents find out?

Find: A teen-friendly health center