The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, during STD Month, April, sum up STD prevention with their campaign: Talk, Test, Treat. You can download or order brochures, pamphlets, information sheets about STD’s online from the CDC (wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/CDCINFOONDEMAND ) to share with your child.
However, their educational materials don’t exonerate a parent from the responsibility of talking with their child about safe sex on an ongoing basis. Your children should know how STDs are spread, how they can protect themselves and what are the treatment options. For example:
• Does your child know how to use a condom?
• Have you stressed that condoms should be used every time he/she has anal, oral or vaginal sex?
• Has your son or daughter being vaccinated against the most common types of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)? Your daughter and son can get vaccinated before they are sexually active. It is recommended that girls/women have three shots through age twenty-six, and male teens and men before age twenty-one.
• Does your child know that the most common forms of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, genital herpes, and gonorrhea don’t necessarily have symptoms?
• Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship, there could be a carry-over of disease from a previous relationship.
If your child is sexually active, have they been tested for STDs and HIV? Their health care provided should be able to recommend certain tests. If not, a testing center can help. And if they are STD-infected, he or she should tell their partner their testing scores and have him or her receive treatment simultaneously so they don’t reinfect one another.
Of course, the only bullet-proof method for not getting STDs is abstinence.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.