The risk of STDs still looms

The risk of STDs still looms
Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HPV, Syphilis. All are known conditions of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or are sometimes called sexually transmitted infections. This is an infection which can be caught by having sexual contact with someone who is infected. Individually they have their own symptoms, but together they are a problem among American teens.

According to the Keiser Family Foundation, 18 percent of males, and 11 percent of females, ages ninth to 12th grade, have had four or more sexual partners. However, in the past 10 years the percent of sexually active teens has gone down, and at the same time the use of contraceptives has gone up, which includes the use of condoms. Even though fewer teens are having sex and using contraceptives more often, the risk of STDs still looms in the air.

Among some of the most severe STDs are AIDS and HIV. According to Advocates for Youth, nearly 20,000 youth are inflicted with HIV in the U.S. Nearly four million of the 15 million cases of STDs occurring in the U.S.

Though STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured through antibiotics, others like HPV, AIDS and genital warts do not have cures because unlike the others, they are viral diseases. Human papillomavirus (HPV), can be deadly if left untreated for too long, and abnormal cells may develop which can turn into cervical cancer.

One may not always be left with a clean slate after contracting curable STDs. After receiving gonorrhea or chlamydia severe long terms affects may ensue. Untreated, up to 40 percent of women with this disease may develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a general infection of the womb, fallopian tubes or any other reproductive organs. PID can cause infertility and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies occur when the egg is implanted in the fallopian tubes or anywhere outside of the womb. PID can be cured with many sorts of antibiotics.

STD awareness is taught to all VHS freshmen by teacher Jon Ruevers. "They are reaching a point where they may be becoming sexually active. They are better off being educated before it's too late," Ruevers said.

When asked if it was necessary to be so graphic with the showing of pictures, Ruevers had this to say, "Yes, because I can put a pictures with words. They can hear about it, but it's not real until they see it. A lot of the times it's when we don't know the facts that get us in trouble. With anything really."

This story is published thanks to a joint agreement between the Plain Talk and Vermillion High School journalism class.

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