As teenagers start to form romantic relationships, the feeling of invincibility may arise. Having an emotional attachment to a significant other can lead to rational decisions. One of the decisions involving sexual intercourse. For instance, many teens believe that condoms fully protect them from sexually transmitted diseases, but this is not always the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Compared with older adults, sexually active adolescents aged 15–19 years and young adults aged 20–24 years are at higher risk of acquiring STDs for a combination of behavioral, biological, and cultural reasons”. This statistic stresses on the importance of awareness within sexually transmitted diseases as they are more prevalent than we think especially in adolescents. Having a lack of knowledge in relation to STDS, leads to the exposure of the deadly and harsh outcomes. When sexually transmitted diseases are left untreated, they include many severe and dangerous complications. Importantly, not every STD has a cure, which may eventually lead to death.
Teenagers are willing to explore within their social lives and they are more likely to make risky decisions as they are still young. Sexual intercourse is one of those risky choices that many teens make. The amount of sexually transmitted diseases and infections are rising and creating newer versions of themselves annually. While teenagers are more susceptible to receive STDs, those teens should receive the proper knowledge they need regarding sexual intercourse. Most importantly, adolescents should receive the appropriate insight regarding practicing safe sex. Two common STDs caused by bacteria are called gonorrhea and syphilis. Another Two common STDs that are caused by viruses and more deadly, are called Hepatitis B and HIV.
Gonorrhea is an STD caused by bacteria, is one of the many common bacteria causing STDs known. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017, the highest amount of reported cases of Gonorrhea were among adolescents and young adults. While being so common, it is essential to practice safe sex habits especially in Gonorrhea, as it often does not show any symptoms. Despite showing no symptoms initially, Gonorrhea does occasionally show symptoms. For instance, pus or discharge released from the penis or vagina, pain during urination. Also, women may experience pain during intercourse and men may have swollen testicles. Gonorrhea is treated by using dual therapy, which involves two different drugs. While the medication stops the infection, it does not reverse any permanent effects done to the body. When left untreated, Gonorrhea involves serious complications. Those complications are, Pelvic inflammatory disease, which is a serious infection that may lead to infertility in women; Epididymitis being an infection in the testicles that can also lead infertility in men.
Syphilis is another common STD caused by bacteria. There are approximately about 4,000 cases annually among 15-24-year-olds. Syphilis includes a common symptom which is a sore called chancre. Chancre sores appear at the site of the infection which is frequently the penis, vulva, or vagina. The preferred medication to treat Syphilis is Penicillin. Penicillin is used to abolish the infection. When left untreated, Syphilis can infect and damage internal organs, such as the brain, nerves, eyes, heart bones, and joints. While these infections are treatable, it is important to never avoid signs of abnormality.
Contrasting from Gonorrhea and Syphilis, Hepatitis B is an STD caused by a virus. Hepatitis affects about 75,000 annually. Compared to the earlier STDs mentioned, Hepatitis B is more complex as treatment differentiates whether it is diagnosed as acute or chronic. Acute being short-term is simpler to resolve, unlike chronic being long-term and can last for a lifetime. Adolescents are at a greater chance of developing chronic Hepatitis B. Symptoms of Hepatitis B may include, Jaundice, Fatigue, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Hepatitis B, being a lifelong virus that stays in the body. Although there is no cure, doctors will attempt to ease the symptoms using medication for the patient. The only complication is death due to chronic liver disease. It is urged for younger children to receive a vaccine for Hepatitis B, as it is an effective way to be protected from the deadly virus.
Finally, the Human Deficiency Virus or HIV is known as the deadliest STD. According to the Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “About 50,000 people are infected with HIV each year, and 1 in 4 are 13 to 24 years old”. HIV attacks and destroys one’s immune system which fights off all the infections that enter the body. The Immune system is a crucial part of our bodies as they protect us and fight off illness. HIV generally develops into AIDS also known as immunodeficiency syndrome. Regarding the symptoms of HIV, one may initially experience a flulike illness. Eventually, as the disease spreads throughout the body, one may experience enlarged lymph nodes, lack of energy, weight loss, and frequent fevers. Currently, there is no cure for HIV, and researchers hope to discover the cure sooner rather than later.
The feeling of invincibility within teenagers may not always be a great feeling when facing the dangers of STDs. Receiving the right knowledge and education is very crucial to adolescents as they have a greater chance of being exposed to STDs.
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