Wednesday, April 1, 2009


It's no April Fool's joke that over 20 million Americans have HPV (the Human Papilloma Virus), one in five Americans over the age of 12 have genital herpes, and over 4 million Americans annually catch gonorrhea and chlamydia, which can lead to chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility. We spend over $15 billion annually on medical costs directly from STD, so let's start some health reform HERE! If you see someone wearing a green "cause" ribbon this month, they are promoting the CDC (Center for Disease Control) STD Awareness Month.
This is a wonderful opportunity to open a conversation with your teen about some of the risks of physical intimacy. Even if your family promotes abstinence, you need to be certain that your child understands that herpes, HPV, syphilis and even pubic lice ("crabs") can be transmitted by direct skin to skin contact- no "sex" of any kind required! This is how virgins can still catch STDs- a bizarre concept, I know. Additionally, even though it will likely be an awkward discussion, be sure that your teen understands that oral sex can transmit STDs, and in fact, is a very common way that people catch genital herpes. There does NOT need to be a visible cold sore present on the "giver's" mouth for this to happen!
BOTTOM LINE: Let's take advantage of this STD Awareness month designation to make certain that our friends and families learn the facts about STDs and go get tested if they are at risk! Check out the CDC's website for more info.

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