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Young Men and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

by Lori Sciame September 28th, 2017 | Men's Health
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condomMost people will become sexually active when they reach early adulthood. For an American male, the average age he will lose his virginity is 16.9 years (Kinsey Institute; California State University).  At this time in a man’s life, he has to seriously think about unwanted pregnancies, and he must become aware of the risks of sexually transmitted diseases.  These diseases have different symptoms, and varying health ramifications, yet they all have one thing in common; they can negatively affect a man’s health for life.

Sex: Not Just with One Person

Teens lack awareness about sexually transmitted diseases, as parents/guardians shy away from talking about the subject with them.  Although a parent may discuss the drawbacks of impregnating a woman, they fail to share facts about the possibility of disease.  First, a young man must be cognizant of the fact that if he has sex with a young woman, he is actually having sex with all the men she has had sex with!  What that means is that the diseases she may have caught (and was not treated for) can be transmitted to him, even if they have intercourse only one time.  Next, a young man should be taught about individual diseases, including the symptoms associated with them.

Common Symptoms

Chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, genital warts, and herpes are the names of a few sexually transmitted diseases; however, there are many more.  Once a man has been exposed to a particular sexually transmitted disease, he may develop symptoms.  As outlined on the Planned Parenthood website, some of the symptoms include: burning during urination, discharge from the penis, itching, sores on the genitals, pain in the lower abdomen, or pain in the testicles.  A young man should also realize that some infections may not cause symptoms.  In essence, he could catch an illness, not know he has it, and then spread it to another person!

Don’t Shame or Blame

Because half of all Americans will experience a sexually transmitted disease in his or her life, a young man should not feel shame if he becomes infected, and he should not lash out at his partner.  What he should do it get treated for the illness, and take precautions not to become infected again in the future.  Health professionals do not make people feel awkward about asking for help; in fact, they can be very helpful in educating one on each type of disease, as well as strategies to avoid becoming ill.

Abstinence First, Condoms Second

The only way for a young man not to acquire a sexually transmitted disease is to not have sex.  Other ways to lessen the risk include: limiting sexual partners, wearing condoms every time you have sex, and use spermicides.  Just like preventing pregnancy, however, the only 100% effective way to prevent illness is NOT being sexually active.

Be in the Know

Knowledge about health issues remains invaluable.  A young man who is considering becoming sexually active should discuss this choice with a trusted adult or his doctor. He needs to understand that some STDs can be treated, but some remain for a lifetime!

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.