Saturday, March 22, 2008

Who wants to play?

As an ER nurse, mother of a teenage boy, 2 more soon to be teen children, and the sister of a teenager this study frightens me.

One in four teens has an STD! A scary number I agree, but for me a worse number is 80%. What is that number? That is the percentage of those one in four teens that don't know they have an STD. Not those that chose not to disclose it but simply just don't know. That is where the problem is. It is those that don't know they are infected that cause the spread. And why don't they know? For some it is because they are symptom free therefore don't think they are infected. Those that have symptoms but are in Denial.( I love Denial... wish I could take vacation there more often.) Those that think they have symptoms but are too embarrassed to ask/seek for help. And of course the most prevalent of reasons among teens.. untouchable superhero. Those that just don't think it can happen to them. I think teens permanently move to Denial until they are about age 25.

In this day an age to have that many teens with STDs is outrageous and unacceptable. We need to do more about education, make healthcare more accessible to teens, teach both abstinence, and protection, and make sex less taboo, make it a dinner time discussion, along with other health issues. Make protection accessible to teens either in the nurse office at school or handed out with every big mac. ***Please note that when I talk about protection I am talking about barrier methods. I am not an advocate of teens on birth control pills/shots without parental knowledge or input for so many reasons. ***

We push anti-drug messages on kids from every corner of their world starting at a very young age. We teach our children to "JUST SAY NO!"so why can't we take that message and teach our children to just say no to STDs. Sex without awareness and proper protection is playing Russian Roulette with each act.
I don't know about you but one in four is too high to play. Even one in a million is too high..especially if that one could be your babe.

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