FAQ – Teen Talk

Question 1: What is an STD?


STD means “sexually transmitted diseases.” The word STD is interchangeable with STI or “sexually transmitted infection.” These infections are passed along during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Some STDs/STIs are curable with others may not be. Just within the US there are an estimated 19 new million cases per year. Teenagers account for millions of these cases.


Question 2: Who can get an STD/STI?


Anyone can get an STD/STI.


Question 3: How do I know if I have an STD/STI?


Testing is the way to know if you have an STD/STI since many of these infections are without symptoms.


Question 4: Do condoms prevent me from getting an STD/STI? 


Condoms will definitely help lower your risk of getting infected when used properly; however, condoms only protect the area they cover. HPV or warts for example, (the most common STD) can infect areas that aren’t covered. While a condom is always a good idea and while it will lower your risk of getting an STD/STI it will not fully protect you against all sexually transmitted diseases and infections.


Question 5: What kind of condoms provide the best protection against STDs/STIs?


Latedx condoms provide the highest degree of protection. Plastic condoms made from polyurethane provide some protection and “skin” condoms from animal membranes don’t provide any protection. The best single way to protect yourself is abstinence or not having sex at all.


 Question 6: What are the symptoms of common STDS?



  • Discharge from genitals
  • Burning with urination
  • In women, lower abdominal and/or back pain, and pain during sex.
  • 3 out of 4 infected females and 1 in 2 infected males have no symptoms
  • Discharge from the genitals
  • Burning or itching during urination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sore throat
  • Anal discharge and itching
  • Females frequently have no symptoms
  • Painless sores on genitals (10 days to 3 months after infection)
  • Rash (3 to 6 weeks after sores appear)
  • No symptoms may appear for years until symptoms of AIDS occur
  • Genital warts (sometimes warts are not visible)
  • Most people with HPV have symptoms. That includes people infected with the types of HPV linked to cervical cancer.
Genital Herpes (HSV type 2)
  • Itching, burning, or pain in the genital area
  • Blisters or sores (sores always heal but can reappear throughout your life).


Question 7: Who can I talk to?


  • Your parents or trusted adults: Whether or not you are sexually active, you may want to talk to your aprents or other trusted adults who can help you find medically accurate information about STDs, contraception, and condoms. Parents are a great source of information, and they can help you work through the many issues you are faced with when thinking about having sex.
  • Your doctor or health care provider: If you are sexually active, or are thinking about having sex, you may want to talk to your doctor or other health care provider about getting effective contraception, using a condom correctly every time you have sex, and being tested for STDs/STIs.
  • Your partner (boyfriend or girlfriend): You may want to talk to your partner preferably before you have sex- about your relationship, whether to have sex or to wait, your sexual and disease histories, and protecting yourselves by using a condom correctly every time you have sex. Even if you and your partner already had sex, these issues are important

 Question 8:  What can happen if I contract an STD/STI?


  • With gonorrhea and chlamydia: In women, these two STDs can cause serious health problems if not diagnosed and treated early. One possible result is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can damage fallopian tubes and make you infertile which means you won’t be able to have a baby. Gonorrhea and chlamydia can also cause constant pain in the lower abdomen and a tubal pregnancy. A tubal pregnancy is also known as an ectopic pregnancy and is a condition in which the developing baby grows in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. This problem is potentially dangerous and requires urgent care.
  • HPV can cause genital warts and other types can cause cervical cancer.
  • Syphilis can get really nasty and can cause blindness, heart disease, mental illness, joint damage and death if not diagnosed and treated early. This is the disease that gangster Al Capone contracted.
  • HIV contraction risk can be increased by certain STDs/STIs such as syphilis and herpes. In addition, active HIV increases its spreading rate.

 Question 9: How can I prevent getting an STD? 


Not having vaginal, oral and anal sex or abstinence is the best prevention method. It is the only way that is 100 percent effective. Even if sexually active, returning to abstinence is the best protection. For those choosing a sexually active lifestyle, the best prevention method is a good habit of always using latex condoms properly. Condoms will protect you against the worst infection or HIV but will not provide protection against all STDs/STIs.


Question 10: If I am taking birth control pills, can I still get an STD?


Birth control pills only prevent pregnancy and will not help one bit against STDs/STIs. Those taking pills or hormonal injections, patches, implants, or rings to prevent pregnancy should make a good habit of regular latex or plastic condom use.


Question 11: What should I do if I think I might have an STD? 


If you think you’ve been exposed the first step is to talk with a doctor and to get tested as soon as possible. STD Test Express is located in many cities and can help you. In addition, other health departments which diagnose and treat STDs are located in almost all cities and counties. Information provide is confidential and they will answer your questions. I’d with STD Test Express today.


Question 12: Should I have a checkup?


Routine checkups are a good idea. The more partners you have the more important it is to have a checkup or test to prevent STD/STI transmission and exposure.


Question 13: What is contraception?


Contraception (also known as birth control) refers to the many different methods of preventing pregnancy. Abstinence from sexual activity until marriage is the only 100% sure contraception. Also, abstinent teens are not at risk for pregnancy or STDs/STIs, including HIV/AIDs. Teens who choose to be sexually active should remain faithful (not have sex with anyone else) to reduce the possibility of getting or giving someone an STD or HIV/AIDS. The latex condom is the only contraceptive method that may provide protection against some STDs, including HIV/AIDS. Research shows that latex condoms may not be effective against some STDs such as Human papilloma Virus (HPV – the virus that causes genital warts).


Question 14: Who needs contraceptive?


Anyone who has sex and doesn’t want to get pregnant or get someone pregnant needs contraception. Any time you have sex, there is a risk of pregnancy. Not having sex-abstinence-is the only 100% sure way to avoid pregnancy.


Question 15: Are some methods of contraceptive better than others at preventing pregnancy? 



Yes. Abstinence is the only 100% sure way to not get pregnant. If you choose to have sex, know that some contraception methods are more effective than others, but no other method offers you total assurance. To be effective, whatever method you choose must be used correctly and consistently. Always read and follow the package instructions. It is a good idea to discuss this with your health provider.


Question 16: Is the condom the only kind of contraception for males?


No. Vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception. But the condom is the most common method used by young males. Remember, the condom not only protects you from getting (or getting someone) pregnant, it may also provide protection against HIV/AIDS and some other STDs/STIs.


Question 17: How do I decide which method of contraception to use? 


Your health care provider can help you decide which method is best for you. Remember, even if you are using a method like the pill, the latex condom is the only method that may provide some protection against HIV/AIDS and some STDs/STIs.


Question 18: Do I need a prescription to get contraception?


Latex condoms can be purchased without a prescription, but other methods require one. Even if you use a nonprescription method, it is a good idea to see a health care provider on a regular basis.


Hormonal methods: 


Hormonal methods prevent pregnancy by interrupting the normal process for becoming pregnant. Hormonal methods do not protect against STDs/STIs. 

Emergency contraception: Hormonal pills that are taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or method failure (e.g., the condom broke or you forgot to take your pill). Emergency contraception is the only method that can be used after having sex to prevent pregnancy.

Hormonal implant: Small capsules inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm that release small amounts of hormone.

Hormonal injection: A hormone injection (“shot”) that is injected into a woman’s arm or buttock on a regular basis (every 1 to 3 months, depending on the hormones).

Hormonal patch: A thin beige patch containing hormones that a woman applies to her skin once a week for three weeks. Hormones that prevent pregnancy are released during the time the patch is on. The women remove it for one week, during which time she has her period.

The pill: A pill for women that must be taken at the same time every day.

Vaginal ring: A ring containing hormones that a woman puts into her vagina and leaves there for three weeks. Hormones that prevent pregnancy are released for that time. The woman removes it for one week, during which time she has her period.


Barrier methods


Barrier methods prevent sperm from reaching the egg. 

Condom/Rubber:  A cover for the penis or vagina. Latex condoms may provide protection against some STDs/STIs, including HIV/AIDs.

Diaphragm/Cervical Cap: A shallow latex cup which the woman puts into her vagina, covering the cervix, before having sex. The diaphragm is generally used with a spermicidal jelly or cream that stops or kills sperm.


Other methods


Abstinence: Not having vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs/STIs, including HIV/AIDS.

Intra-Uterine Device (IUD): An IUD is a small plastic device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus by a trained clinician. Those used in the U.S. contain copper or hormones. This method is not generally recommended for teens, but is excellent for faithful married couples.

Natural Family Planning: Not having sex during the 5 or 6 days of the month when it is possible for the woman to get pregnant. Specialized training is essential for using this method.

Spermicide: A cream, foam, jelly or insert which kills sperm. Spermicides do not protect against STDs or HIV/AIDS. Nonoxynol-9, the most common spermicide, may increase the risk of HIV/AIDS in individual who are at risk for STD/STI or HIV/AIDS.

Sterilization: A permanent, surgical form of contraception that blocks the fallopian tubes in women (tubal ligation) and the vas deferens in men (vasectomy).

Withdrawal: Removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation. It may not prevent pregnancy, because some semen may leak before ejaculation.

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