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Teens and young adults have been infected and affected by AIDS and other STD’s at very high rates over the past recent years. HIV and AIDS are deadly viruses which attack the bodies’ immune system, causing you to lose your ability to fight off sickness and/or disease. Although many think that this young group of people would be the least likely to be infected by an STD or HIV because of their inexperience, these people are those who are at a very high risk because of the excessive amount of curiosity that develops at this age. Today, one in four infections of HIV or AIDS occurs in a person younger than twenty-two.


Unfortunately, much of what puts these adolescents at risk is the fact that being a teenager means taking chances; teenagers want to test limits and question authority. Many of these young adults do not realize that unsafe sex is irreversible. The AIDS Partnership Program in Michigan stated that before they reach age twenty, seventy-seven percent of all girls and eighty-six percent of all boys had experienced sexual intercourse.


Another unfortunate fact about teenagers is that most do not consistently use condoms. The 11 National Survey of Adolescent Males found that condom use is likely to be highest at the beginning of a relationship and then decline once the partner is believed to be “safe”. Teenagers in the United States today with larger numbers of sexual partners are less likely to use a condom as well. An article published in 18 titled “Patterns of Condom Use Among Adolescents” suggests that teens that use condoms for their first sexual encounter are twenty times more likely to use condoms on a regular basis.


Teenagers in today’s society whom are gay, drug users, juvenile offenders, school dropouts, runaways or of the homeless youth are especially at risk of being infected with HIV, AIDS, or any other STD. This is usually because these groups of teenagers are those most difficult to reach for prevention and education on the particular subjects of HIV, STD’s, and/or AIDS. This youth also has a very limited access to health care and service-delivery systems.


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A parent’s influence on their teenagers’ sexual experiences is under-rated in many situations. A parent is in a very unique position to talk with their children about STD’s and AIDS prevention and education. A parent’s influence on a child can not only help delay first intercourse amongst teens, but can also increase condom usage amongst those who are already sexually active.


Despite common opinion and/or belief, an STD is only one-hundred percent preventable from passing from one person to another by sexual means when abstinence is practiced. Many people believe that they will never be infected by AIDS or an STD if they use protection. Unfortunately this is not the case for all people, because accidents can happen. However, using a condom or other means of protection greatly reduces the risk of infection in sexually active people. Another way to prevent the spread or infection of AIDS is to never share syringes with other people.


Education among young teenager seems to become more excessive, but many young adults are still unaware of the deadly disease known as HIV or AIDS. Such things as symptoms of STD’s or AIDS and/or prevention could be the key to preventing many young people in today’s society from being infected by the disease. Common symptoms of AIDS usually include symptoms similar to the common flu, such as recurrent fevers, chills, or night sweats. Decreased appetite, a persistent, dry cough, and extreme, constant tiredness could also be included in a list of common symptoms among young teenagers. Physical signs are much easier to notice however, and these include such things like rapid weight loss for no apparent reason, swollen lymph glands in the neck or underarm, white spots in the mouth, and raised or flat marks or bumps on the skin that are usually a purplish color.


Another issue rarely thought about by the average person is the affect of AIDS in other countries around the world. In Africa alone, there have been more than seventeen million deaths already with numbers greater than that to come if something is not done to prevent the spread of this disease. In some countries, many do not have a choice of whether or not to have safe-sex or practice abstinence.


Over-population is already a problem in many countries in Africa because of the many families that birth children to create free helping hands on their farms. Young women can become married and start a family as young as twelve in many of these countries, which causes the virus to spread to many young children and young adults. When these young women are infected and become pregnant, they also pass this deadly disease on to their unborn child. Condom-use is extremely rare in Africa and almost non-existent in many areas.


Another common reason that young people in Africa and other countries become infected with AIDS is because of their lack of knowledge and understanding on the situation. This lack of knowledge and education on these particular subjects is most likely because of the poverty and lack of sophistication in many of the world’s countries today.


Not including AIDS, there are many other STD’s in existence that can greatly affect a young person’s life without there realization of the risks. These STD’s might include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes, Genital Warts, Hepatitis B, or Crabs and Scabies. Many of these diseases are easily recognized and curable if caught in the early stages. Unfortunately there are those that are not curable and the infected person will be stuck with the virus for the rest of their lives.


Chlamydia is one of the most common and easily spread STD’s. Unfortunately most women and men infected by this STD do not have any signs or symptoms of the disease. However, if Chlamydia is not found and treated in the early stages of the disease, it could lead to serious health problems later in life.


Gonorrhea is another STD which can lead to serious health problem later on in life if not caught and treated in its early stages. If any, symptoms usually include painful urination; however there are usually no symptoms for this disease, especially in men.


Syphilis is one of the more dangerous STD’s. The health problems that can occur with this disease if not treated can, and usually are more serious than those with Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. Many people usually are not aware that they have been infected with the disease for it is usually a painless sore.


Herpes is caused by a virus. Signs that a person has been infected with this disease are fairly obvious and include painful sores. These blisters can go away and can be controlled, but there is no cure for the virus.


Hepatitis B is a disease for which there is no known cure, however can be prevented by a series of vaccinations. Hepatitis B can be spread from one person to another without any signs and without the person ever being aware that they have been infected by the disease. The virus attacks a persons liver and can cause serious illnesses.


Crabs and Scabies are tiny bugs that can cause itching. These are the most easily spread because they can be caught by any close physical contact.


Teenagers around the world are experiencing AIDS and many other STD’s that should and could be prevented in today’s modern world. There are many different reasons and causes for such young people to be experiencing such awful illnesses. Few people realize that these illnesses are not only affecting Americans, but millions of people all over the world. STD’s and AIDS are causing millions of deaths to innocent people. Is there any way to stop such a deadly disease from continuing?





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