If you think you might have a sexually transmitted disease, it is important to talk to your parents or someone you trust and to get medical attention immediately.
Anyone who is sexually active can get venereal diseases, also called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The main way to get an STD is through sexual intercourse or any other sexual contact with someone who is infected. Included in these diseases are chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, urethritis, syphilis, trichomonas, venereal warts and AIDS virus (HIV). (See AIDS, p.9).
Sexually transmitted diseases are not shameful or a punishment…they are simply diseases that, if not treated, can seriously damage your health.
Facts About STDs and AIDS
You do not catch an STD or AIDS virus (HIV) from toilet seats, door knobs, or through "casual" contacts like handshakes and sharing a telephone.
You can get STDs or AIDS virus (HIV) at any age. Once you have the AIDS virus (HIV) or herpes you will always have it. Herpes can be controlled but is not curable. There is presently no cure for the AIDS virus (HIV). Other STDs are curable with proper medical treatment, but you can get them again and again if you are exposed to them again and again. SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES ARE CONTAGIOUS.
Protecting Yourself from STDs and AIDS
The best way to prevent STDs and AIDS virus (HIV) is not to have sexual contact at all. If you choose to have sex, there are ways to begin to protect yourself. Use a condom (see information on Birth Control), do not have sex with people who have sores or blisters around their mouth or genitals, do not have anal sex, and do not have sex with a lot of partners. Statistics show that having sex with more than one partner or one partner who has had other partners, greatly increases your risk of getting an STD.
Warning: If not treated, some STDs can result in serious damage (even if the outward symptoms disappear) including: sterility (inability to have children), heart disease, damage to an unborn baby, blindness, deafness, non-healing skin sores, paralysis and even death.
If you are concerned about STDs, talk to your parents or someone else you trust. It is very important to go to a doctor or clinic and ask to be tested for STDs or the AIDS virus (HIV). You will have a medical exam and a lab test: blood tests determine the presence of the HIV virus.
It is possible to have STDs without feeling sick or noticing any changes in your body. Do not be embarrassed to see a doctor if you think you have an STD. The longer it goes untreated, the more damage it will do to your body. Remember that most STDs can be treated and most can be cured.
STD tests are confidential. Parental permission is not required. For more information about preventing or treating STDs or AIDS virus (HIV) call:
The following organizations will provide information and/or assistance (click on the agency's name for more information):
The following national hotlines also are available: