Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STDs stand for those diseases that are spread through sexual contact from one person to another. There are approximately twenty- five such diseases which fall into this category. According to the estimations of the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), approximately nineteen million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases are registered every year. Nearly fifty percent of these cases are seen to be occurring among the people belonging to the age group of fifteen to twenty- four. On an average, the United States spend 15.9 billion dollars annually on the treatment and diagnosis of those cases where people are suffering from different forms of STDs. As per estimation by CDC, 24000 women become infertile in the United States as a result of undiagnosed and thereby untreated cases of STDs every year (HealthyPeople.gov, 2016).
Almost half of the girls in the high schools have admitted having been involved in sexual activities. 39.8% of these girls did not even use condoms. 8300 of the girls also tested positive for HIV (McLaughlin, 2016). The United States has the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancies and STDs (Carter, 2012). 95% of the young people having HIV are the natives of developing countries. Especially, in Asian and Pacific countries, the number of HIV affected individuals is as high as seven million (Ibrahim & Sidani, 2014).
Multiple interventions have been adopted by the medical professionals all over the world to combat the issue of STDs among the adolescents. Some of such interventions are the use of social media and text messaging for imparting education about STDs to the adolescents. Such methods have proved to be effective in enhancing the knowledge of the adolescents about these diseases and their prevention (Jones, Eathington, Baldwin & Sipsma, 2014). Most of the adolescents receive sex education through the school curriculum. Sex education has become one of the most important parts of the curriculum since the last few years. The education can be imparted through two ways. One way is to teach the children to abstain from sexual relationships till they are mature enough to understand them and handle them, whereas the other way is to teach them about safe sex, use of protections, sexually transmitted diseases and the ways to prevent those (Fantasia & Fontenot, 2011).
Health education imparted to females, especially about different STDs and their prevention has proved to be beneficial. The females who received such education demonstrated lesser numbers of unprotected intercourses. These females also involved less frequently into sexual intercourse episodes while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Robertson et al., 2011). Imparting sex education at an early age, mainly to the females, has a positive effect on the sexual health. Females who have undergone such educational programs tend to have fewer numbers of sexual partners and often use dual methods of contraception (barrier and hormonal methods) (Sieving et al., 2011).
The Healthy People 2020 recommends the Group based comprehensive risk reduction interventions which can be delivered to the adolescents in order to promote behaviour in them which can reduce the risk of different Sexually Transmitted Diseases and unwanted pregnancies. It also recommends high intensity behavioural counselling for the sexually active adolescents in order to decrease the chances of STDs among them (HealthyPeople.gov, 2016).
The National Coalition of STD Directors have implemented some new strategies which aimed at promoting health awareness among the adolescents regarding STDs and their preventions. They devised several programmes and brought about some tool kits for the providers of Sexual health education. They created manuals for the schools which can be used in developing policies (National Coalition of STD Directors, 2016). These tool kits and manuals can help the awareness providers in carrying out their work more efficiently and imparting knowledge more effectively.
The burden of different forms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases is quite high. Large numbers of adolescents all over the world are suffering from these diseases. The immature, inquisitive and impulsive approaches of the age group make them vulnerable and they develop the proneness to these diseases. It is important to increase the awareness of the adolescents about STDs, the risks associated with them and the ways through which they can be prevented. Introducing sex education as a part of school curriculum can be an important step in this regard. Furthermore, counselling of the sexually active adolescents and increasing their knowledge about different STDs and their prevention can help in combating the issue. The adolescents should be made aware of the risks of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Regular behavioural counselling sessions can help in bringing down the rate of STDs among the adolescents. Use of text messages and social media can also be extremely helpful in imparting knowledge and promoting awareness.
Carter, D. (2012). Comprehensive Sex Education for Teens Is More Effective than Abstinence. AJN, American Journal Of Nursing, 112(3), 15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.naj.0000412622.87884.a3
Fantasia, H., & Fontenot, H. (2011). The Sexual Safety of Adolescents. Journal Of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 40(2), 217-224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1552-6909.2011.01217.x
HealthyPeople.gov,. (2016). Sexually Transmitted Diseases | Healthy People 2020. Retrieved 2 February 2016, from http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/sexually-transmitted-diseases
Ibrahim, S., & Sidani, S. (2014). Community Based HIV Prevention Intervention in Developing Countries: A Systematic Review. Advances In Nursing, 2014, 1-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/174960
Jones, K., Eathington, P., Baldwin, K., & Sipsma, H. (2014). The Impact of Health Education Transmitted Via Social Media or Text Messaging on Adolescent and Young Adult Risky Sexual Behavior. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 41(7), 413-419. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/olq.0000000000000146
McLaughlin, L. (2016). Effectiveness of Sexual Health Promotion in Adolescents. Journal Of Nursing. Retrieved from http://rnjournal.com/journal-of-nursing/effectiveness-of-sexual-health-promotion-in-adolescents
National Coalition of STD Directors,. (2016). Adolescent Sexual Health | The National Coalition of STD Directors. Retrieved 7 February 2016, from http://www.ncsddc.org/what-we-do/adolescent-health#Promote
Robertson, A., St. Lawrence, J., Morse, D., Baird-Thomas, C., Liew, H., & Gresham, K. (2011). The Healthy Teen Girls Project: Comparison of Health Education and STD Risk Reduction Intervention for Incarcerated Adolescent Females. Health Education & Behavior, 38(3), 241-250. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1090198110372332
Sieving, R., Bernat, D., Resnick, M., Oliphant, J., Pettingell, S., Plowman, S., & Skay, C. (2011). A Clinic-Based Youth Development Program to Reduce Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Adolescent Girls: Prime Time Pilot Study. Health Promotion Practice, 13(4), 462-471. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1524839910386011