When it comes to STDs -- Take the test, take control!

Did you know that 1 in 2 sexually active youth will get an STD (sexually transmitted disease) by the age of 25? That means half or 50% of sexually active teens will get an STD before they turn 25.  In other words STD’s like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HPV are VERY common, and you’d be surprised how easy it is to get infected and not even know it. The most common symptom of an STD is no symptoms at all. That means, most of the time, the only way to know if you have an STD is to get tested. If someone does have an STD, most are easy to treat but if left untreated, they can cause long term health problems like infertility or the inability to have a child.

STD tests are easy, affordable, and confidential! Most STDs can be found by a simple urine test. That’s right – peeing in a cup. Some STDs may require a blood test. Your doctor can talk about which tests are right for you. Most teens in California can get tested for STDs for FREE or for low cost and confidentially. Any information about the tests or results will stay private.

The popular misconception is that if someone has an STD, it’s because they had a lot of sexual partners.  The truth is, you can get an STD the very first time you have sex, if your partner is infected and you don’t use a condom. STDs are common among all people and there is nothing wrong with someone who has an STD. If someone tests positive for an STD, they don’t have to freak out -- they have options!  

Prevention is key

Although STD’s are quite common, for the most part they are easy to prevent. Abstinence is the best way to prevent STDs but if you choose to have sex, make sure to use a condom! You can find free condoms near you.

You can protect yourself against HPV, one of the most common STDs, with a vaccine! HPV can lead to genital warts or cancer. If you have not already gotten the HPV vaccine, ask your doctor about it!

If you are already sexually active, it is important to get tested for STDs.  Doctors recommend that you get tested if you have been having sex without a condom, or if you suspect that your boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on you. Find a clinic near you today at Teensource or text clinic and your zip code to 877877!

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This blog was reposted from Teensource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news. 

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