Sexually transmitted diseases in the young

Sexually transmitted diseases are still increasing because of inadequate knowledge about how to prevent it. People between the ages of 15 and 24 are more prone for about half of these infections. Young people are at greater risk of getting an STD like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital herpes, Human papillomavirus, HIV which are transmitted to the partner through sexual contact, some infections like herpes and HPV can also spread through skin to skin contact. Some STD’s won’t show any symptoms for longer time but can be sexually transmitted even without any symptoms. As there are several complications if left untreated, it is necessary to take required measures earlier.

Reasons for greater risk of STDs in young:

  1. Young people are hesitant to talk about their sex life with the medical practitioners.
  2. Some young people have more than one partner.
  3. Avoids taking preventive measures like using condoms.
  4. Some people hesitate to get tests for STD.
  5. Young people are more vulnerable to STIs because of a lack of sex education, sex education in schools begins late when adolescents have already been initiated into sexual intercourse.
  6. Certain groups of adolescents are at greater risk of STDs, especially minorities, gay, lesbian and transgender youth, drug users (particularly parenteral), homeless, runaways, commercial sex workers, and pregnant or incarcerated (jailed) youths .
  7. The presence of some STDs like syphilis, chancroid ulcers or genital herpes simplex virus infection increases the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV.
  8. There is some evidence that young people in urban areas are more sexually active than those in rural areas, but this may partially be because of the high prevalence of commercial sex in some urban areas.
  9. Hiding the fact that he/she is already having STD with the partner and keeping him/her at risk.
  10. For some STDs, such as chlamydia, young females may have increased susceptibility to infection because of increased cervical ectopy. Cervical ectopy is the presence of columnar cells, which are typically found within the cervical canal, located on the outer surface of the cervix. Although this is a normal finding in adolescent and young women, these cells are more susceptible to infection.

How they are diagnosed:

As there are many sexually transmitted diseases each one have its own test to diagnose it. By clinical symptoms doctor can advise the following tests if needed and both the partners should be tested.

  • HIV and Hepatitis – Viral screening
  • Syphillis- VDRL
  • HPV- HPV DNA test by taking vaginal swab
  • Chlamydia- urine sample and urethral discharge swab for males, Vaginal swab for females.
  • Some STIs, such as genital warts and herpes, can be diagnosed through a combination of physical examination.

Preventive measures:

  1. As STDs do not show any symptoms in most of the cases, it is important for both the partners to get tested for STDs.
  2. Education about the sexually transmitted diseases must be given to young adults starting from their colleges.
  3. Awareness about using condoms from starting to ending of the intercourse even it is a oral,vaginal or anal sex.
  4. Avoid having intercourse with multiple partners without taking basic precautions like using condom.
  5. Before you have sex, talk with your partner about how you will prevent STDs and pregnancy. If you think you’re ready to have sex, you need to be careful in protecting your body.
  6. Ask a doctor or nurse about vaccines against HPV and hepatitis B.
  7. Regular cervical cancer screening, and chlamydia and gonorrhea testing is important.
  8. Avoid using alcohol and/or recreational drugs with sex. Using alcohol and drugs will increase the risk, like not using a condom or having sex with someone you normally wouldn’t have sex with.
  9. It’s important to tell your partner before you have sex if you have a STD and take measures to avoid transmission.
  10. Treatment should be taken by both of the partners even only one is affected especially in people affected with chlamydia. Treatment is always based on the cause.
  11. Avoiding treatment or any delay in the treatment can cause serious complications like infertility. So, it is advisable to get treated as soon as you got diagnosed.



Dr.Y. Alekhya.


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