Privacy is a basic human right, but as a parent, how much privacy should your child have when it comes to their health? A report released by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reveals that if parents depend solely on their child’s honesty about their sexual activity, disappointment and missed diagnoses could be the result.
It’s not likely a topic your pediatrician will bring up with you either, beyond offering some sort of vaccine that is intended to protect against cancer that is transferred via intercourse. The truth of the matter is that parents still must take the lead in the care and treatment of their child, especially through the adolescent years. The Center for Disease Control reports that more than 20 million new cases reported each year for sexually transmitted diseases involve positive testing in youth ages 15-24.
The three top STDs that youth test positive for are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, herpes, the human papillomavirus, and trichomoniasis. Some of these diseases have symptoms and others can be present, are highly contagious, but the carrier remains asymptomatic without any knowledge that he or she even has it.
Also, remember, as awkward as it can be for a parent to discuss these topics with their teenager, it is exponentially more difficult for youth who fear that they will get in trouble, get others into trouble, or find out that their choices have a consequence that’s lifelong.
What makes some parents (and youth) defer STD testing could be fear that the examination will be painful, expensive or involve pelvic examination when involving a younger female. Most sexually transmitted testings can be done through health insurance and become a part of your child’s annual health examination process. The majority of tests can be performed by blood work, urine, or swab if a sore is present.
You’d be surprised how honest a teen may become when they think they will get answers that the needed in the event that a problem does exist. Some youth will be thankful to have their truth out in the open once and for all. Especially now, with the country’s climate changing on access to abortion, it will become even more important for parents to take an active role in their child’s sexual education to prevent unwanted pregnancy, including STDs.