STD Awareness Month is an annual observance in April. National Youth HIV/STD Awareness Day was April 10. (see blogpost http://www.straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com. April-10-is-National-Youth-HIV/STD-Awareness-Day/4/9/16. )
Each year, the U.S. has 19 million new sexually transmitted diseases. It’s an ongoing public
health epidemic that costs the health care system 17 billion annually.
Talking To Your Kids About Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Many parents are embarrassed to talk about sex so they avoid the topic. It’s o.k. to tell your kids that you are uncomfortable discussing sex. Chances are they are embarrassed too.
Don’t think that just because you give them information or get them vaccinated for the human papillomavirus ( HPV), a group of more than 150 related viruses, that you are encouraging your child to be promiscuous. Quite the contrary! Research shows that teens are less likely to have sex at an early age if they feel close to their parents.
Don’t Leave Sex Ed. To Others
· No one can weave your morals, personal insight into a school sex-ed program.
· Your child may hear about sex from friends and be given misguided information.
· Without your input, the media could upset them with its hypersexuality, violence, etc.
· Before you start, know the facts. You can get these from online sources as Mediline, Centers for Disease Control, American Sexual Health Association http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/sexually-transmitted-infections-awareness/, testing centers, your health care provider, and The American Red Cross.
· Know the answers to these questions: what is HIV, for example? How is it spread, and how it can be prevented? The Centers for Disease Control recommends 3 steps: Talk, Test, and Treat.
· Use specific and correct terms.
· Answer questions as they come up with age-appropriate answers. (as your child grows older, add more details so that he/she is well informed by high school).
· But if your teen doesn’t bring the subject up about HIV and other STDs, make a point of talking about them.
Ice Breakers To Get You Started:
· Watch for ways to start a conversation:
· TV programs, news articles, radio reports. Comment on these together.
· Ask if your child understands what they are talking about. Does he/she know what HIV is, for example?
· Ask if the school has talked about HIV and other STDS. Clear up any misinformation.
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.