Sexually transmitted diseases are infections one can get from having sex with someone who has the infection. STDs are generally acquired by sexual contact but sometimes these infections can be transmitted non-sexually such as from mother to child during pregnancy or child birth or through blood transfusion or shared needles.

The causes of STDs include bacteria, parasite and viruses. The organisms that cause STDs may pass from person to person in blood, semen or vaginal and other body fluids. There are more than twenty (20) types of STDs including Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Genital herpes, Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, HIV/AIDS.

STDs have a range of signs and symptoms. The signs that may indicate an STD include fever, lower abdominal pain, rash over the trunk, hands or feet, pain during sex, unusual vaginal bleeding, unusual or odd-smelling vaginal discharge, painful and burning urination, to mention but a few.

Unfortunately, STDs have become common among teens. STDs are more than just an embarrassment; they are a serious health problem. If untreated, some STDs can cause permanent damage such as infertility and even death (in the case of HIV/AIDS).

One reason STDs spread is because people think they can only be infected if they have sexual intercourse. That’s wrong! A person can get some STDs like herpes or genital warts through skin to skin contact with an infected area or sore. Another myth about STDs is that you cannot get them if you have oral or anal sex. That is also wrong because viruses or bacteria that cause STDs can enter the body through tiny cuts and tears in the mouth and anus as well as the genitals. Some of the things that increase a person’s chances of getting an STD are sexual activities at a young age, lots of sex partners and unprotected sex.

Not all infections in the genitals are caused by STDs. Sometimes people can get symptoms that seem very like those of STDs even though they have never had sex. For girls, a yeast infection can easily be confused with an STD. guys may worry about bumps on the private parts, that turns out to be pimples or irritated hair follicles. That is why it is important to see a doctor if you have questions about your sexual health.

Prevention of STDs: as with many other diseases prevention is the key. It is much easier  to prevent STDs than to treat them. The only way to completely prevent STDs is to “abstain from all forms of sexual contact” if someone is going to have sex, the best way to reduce the chance of getting an STD is using a condom (or dental dam) when a female is receiving oral sex.

People who are considering having sex should get gynaecological or make genital examinations because these exams give doctors a chance to teach people about STDs and how to protect themselves. Also, regular exams give doctors more opportunities to check for STDs while they are still in their earliest and most treatable stages.

Now, let us take a look at teenage pregnancy. This is pregnancy in females under the age of twenty (20). It refers to female adolescents becoming pregnant between the ages of 13 – 19years. Most teenage girls do not plan to get pregnant but many do. Teenage pregnancies carry extra health risks to both the teenage mother and the baby. Often, teens do not get parental care soon enough which can lead to problems later on. Teenage pregnancy puts a great strain on the parent especially the mother.

Teenage pregnancy may be linked to things such as inadequate knowledge about safe sex, lack of education and information about reproduction, peer pressure, early engagement in sexual activities, drugs and alcohol, low socio economic status, sexual abuse and exploitation by older men. Although some teenage pregnancies are intentional, majority are unintentional and lead to many negative outcomes for the mother and child. Teenage pregnancy is related to the specific situation of the teenager and the group that she interacts with. Teenage pregnancy is a very serious issue that needs to be dealt with in our society.

Each year, over one million teenagers become pregnant. Teenagers are growing up today in a society in which peers, music and TV gives a message that unmarried sexual relationships are a common part of a growing teenager today. Teenage pregnancy is a major concern for today’s society. The term “babies are having babies” is so meaningful when looking at the problems associated with teenage pregnancy.

The prevalence of teenage pregnancy worldwide has become a cause of major concern in recent years.

It is viewed as urgent crisis as the number of teenage girls bearing children outside marriage increases. It affects the community and society at large. Some of the risk factors that lead to teen pregnancy are participation in unsafe sexual activities, poor performance, and low attendance in school, poor family income, substance abuse, deprivation and single parent families. Some teenagers have two children within two years.

The mother and her child faces a lifetime of economic, physical, educational and health challenges. Children born to teen mothers do worse in school as compared to those born to older mothers. Teenage pregnancy can also be caused by peer pressure, lack of sexual education, drugs, poverty, and lack of parental guidance, inadequate knowledge about safe sex, sexual abuse and media influence.

Although there are many different ways of preventing teenage pregnancy, the only one that is absolutely effective is “sexual abstinence”. This method is the only one that guarantees no risk of getting pregnant and also protects the teen against STDs.

[1] School: Government Secondary School Akamkpa, Cross River. Address: No 7 Ikpi Street, Opposite First Bank, Akamkpa, CRS. Phone No: 08146140060 Or 070354041