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Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or sexually transmitted infections (STI) are transmitted from one individual to another through sexual contact. These comprise of gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Usually the symptoms do not manifest for a very long time, making detection difficult. Nevertheless, these can be passed on during sex and can have serious consequences.

One of the most common reasons predisposing the young population to the risk of contracting STDs is the use of alcohol and other substances. Along with the obvious threat of developing an addiction, another dangerous side effect of teen drug and alcohol addiction is an unwanted pregnancy. STDs and unwanted pregnancies result when addicted teens indulge in high-risk sexual behaviors after becoming intoxicated.

STDs are very common amongst adolescents and young adults. In the U.S., nearly 20 million new cases of STDs are reported each year and half of these infections are registered in people aged between 15 to 24-year old. Young people are highly susceptible to STDs because of multiple reasons:

  • The bodies of young women are more prone to STDs.
  • A majority of young people do not get tested for recommended STDs.
  • Oftentimes, for fear of being stigmatized or discriminated, young people feel embarrassed in talking honestly and openly with their doctor or nurse about their sex life, thereby slipping detection.
  • Absence of transportation of insurance can make it challenging for young people to have access to STD testing.
  • Further, at times, young people have more than one sex partner which also increases their odds of contracting a STD.

According to the 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, around 40 percent of students have had sexual intercourse and out of those, 29 percent were currently sexually active, out of which 19 percent confessed to have drank alcohol or used drugs before their last intercourse. Further, less than 10 percent of these students had ever been tested for HIV. Several other studies have also found that the intensity of risky sexual behaviors as well as multiple partners’ surges with the increase in the frequency of substance abuse.

High risk sexual behaviors and causes

Some of the high-risk sexual behaviors identified in teens indulging in drug and alcohol abuse are:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Sex with multiple partners
  • Sex for money, drugs, or alcohol

Influence of drugs and alcohol tends to increase sex drive and therefore teenagers under the influence indulge in the above mentioned high-risk sexual behaviors. Some are so dependent on drugs that they resort to sex for money in order to sustain their addiction thus putting themselves at the risk of contracting STDs.

Some of the common causes for substance abuse and high-risk sexual behaviors amongst teens have been identified as the following:

  • Economic scarcity and poverty
  • Lack of access to proper healthcare facilities
  • Peer pressure
  • Lack of parental involvement, engagement, and guidance
  • Genetic history with drug and alcohol problem
  • Social alienation, problems in school

Effects and consequences

According to the government officials, adolescents aged between 15 to 19 have the highest risk of contracting a STD. Some of the commonly contracted STDs are:

  • HIV
  • Genital herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis

Most of these are not detected at an early stage. While some are treatable, others can be contained but will result in permanent short- and long-term consequences. It is important that teens with drug or alcohol abuse problems and having multiple sexual partners consult a professional for general symptoms of STDs such as rashes in the genital area or unwanted discharges. It is also imperative for parents to be on a lookout for drug abuse and the occurrence of general symptoms of STDs in their children.

Symptoms of STDs

People with STDs or STIs might feel ill and develop some of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anal bleeding, soreness, or itching
  • Abnormal vaginal odor
  • Sores or blisters in and around the mouth
  • Redness and itching in the genital area
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Warts or sores in and around the genital area
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina or penis

Oftentimes, one may not develop symptoms for a long period of time, however, the infections can still get transmitted.

Addiction treatment at Adeona Healthcare

Teenage years are a sensitive period during which teens can be easily influenced into certain types of behaviors. However, it is the responsibility of the parents or the guardians to observe them closely, identify problems, and offer guidance when needed. Unfortunately, alcohol and drug use in teens is a major issue as it not only indicates a problem with substances, but also other emotional, mental, and psychological difficulties.

If you know a teen who is using drugs, alcohol, or any other substance or displaying the symptoms of an addiction, then get in touch with Adeona Healthcare. A leading teen addiction treatment center, we understand the unique needs of teenagers and customize our treatment programs accordingly. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline 888-379-9360 and speak with a member from our admissions team. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.

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