Prevention of STD in Teenagers
Behaviors among teens emerge during adolescence. According to Cooper, Risley, Drake and Bundy (2007), high rates of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies are recorded among adolescents. The authors, therefore, believe the statistics affirm teenagers are participating in high-risk sexual behaviors. Consequently, Commendador (2010) asserts that adolescence should be a vital focal point for implementing measures preventing STD infections among teens. The measures should encourage teenagers to avoid engaging in high-risk behaviors like unprotected sex and unsafe drugs and alcohol abuse to prevent sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. The report will, therefore, discuss interventions and approaches that can prevent STD infections among teenagers.
According to Marshall, Kerr, Shoveller, Patterson, Buxton, and Wood (2009), social factors increase adolescent’s vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases. The social factors include employment, income, homelessness, and unstable housing. Compounding factors including low perception of risk and rates of HIV testing, older sexual partners, inadequate education on HIV prevention, and inconsistent condom use have also exposed teens to STDs. Thus, social, health and economic inequalities should be addressed in implementing measures that can prevent STD infections among youngsters. The American Academy of Pediatricians (2011) also asserts that routine testing can prevent sexually transmitted diseases and encourage teens to embrace healthy sexual lifestyles. The routine testing coupled with counseling should, therefore, be freely implemented to ensure homeless and street-involved teenagers access knowledge and skills necessary in preventing STD infections.
The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (2010) conducted research to affirm comprehensive and holistic STD and HIV prevention programs can be effective in reducing sexually-related risks and diseases. The programs, however, should provide teenagers with youth-friendly education and information on health issues and opportunities to build life skills in safe and supportive environments. Thus, effective programs preventing STD infections among young adults should hire trained instructors with age-appropriate information to counsel and encourage adolescents to embrace healthy living. The programs should also involve parents, skill-building components and health organizations to equip teenagers with skills relevant in resisting peer pressure. Consequently, teenagers can acknowledge that they should abstain from sexual behaviors until they are mature and ready. More so, they can communicate with sexual partners, use condoms consistently and correctly and embrace measures critically reducing STD and HIV infections. The programs should also target young adolescents before they are pressured, forced, or introduced to sexual activities to prevent adverse health outcomes.
According to Voisin, DiClemente, Salazar, Crosby, and Yarber (2006), developing intervention approaches promoting consistent, and sustained behavioral changes among teenagers to prevent STD infections can be a challenge. Perspectives expanding investigational and intervention efforts should, therefore, represent a diverse array of factors influencing teenagers to engage in risky sexual activities. Thus, changing teenagers’ sexual behaviors should involve addressing proximal and distal environmental factors that affect their decision-making process and likelihood to engage in risky sexual activities. Personal, interpersonal, economic, and social factors within the cultural context superimposing traditional values and patterns of social organization should also be evaluated. They define teenagers’ behaviors towards their peers, family, community, and sex.
In conclusion, should, therefore, be provided with skills ensuring the factors do not put them at risk of being victims of risky sexual behaviors. For example, programs counseling teenagers to embrace healthy sexual relationships should modify interventions and approaches to address the multiple spheres and interactions influencing sexual activities among adolescents. Thus, they should encourage teenagers to identify systems that can assist them to abstain from premature sexual relations. Consequently, the systems should help the teenagers to promote healthy sexual behaviors. Thus, preventing STD infections among teenagers involves addressing their relations with peers, family, and community. Consequently, social, health and economic factors encouraging the teenagers to engage in risky sexual activities can be identified and addressed accordingly.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (2011). Policy statement: Adolescents and HIV infection: The pediatrician’s role in promoting routine testing. Pediatrics, 128, 1023-1030.
Commendador, K. (2010). Parental influences on adolescent decision making and contraceptive use. Pediatric Nursing, 36, 147-170.
Cooper, S., Risley, L., Drake, J., & Bundy, P. (2007). HIV as part of the lives of children and youth as life expectancy increases: Implications for Education. Journal of International Cooperation in Education, 10, 101-113.
Marshall, L., Kerr, T., Shoveller, A., Patterson, L., Buxton, A., & Wood, E. (2009). Homelessness and unstable housing associated with an increased risk of HIV and STI transmission among street-involved youth. Health and Place, 15, 783-790.
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. (2010). Effective HIV and STD Prevention Programs for Youth. A Summary of Scientific Evidence.
Voisin, R., DiClemente, J., Salazar, F., Crosby, A., & Yarber, L. (2006). Ecological factors associated with STD risk behaviors among detained female adolescents. Social Work, 511, 71-79.