STD's & You: What You Need to Know

By Stephanie Lynn, age 23, Massachusetts
SDM Editor-in-Chief

A recent study by the CDC reports that 26% of teenage girls age 14-19 have at least one sexually transmitted disease. That's 1 in 4. For African-American girls, the number is even scarier - about 50% have one of four common STD's.

"The teens were tested for four infections: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and affected 18 percent of girls studied; chlamydia, which affected 4 percent; trichomoniasis, 2.5 percent; and genital herpes, 2 percent." (Associated Press)

Roughly half of teenage girls do not engage in sexual activity, making the stat even more frightening for those who do - 40% of all sexually active teenage girls have one or more STDs. Statistically speaking, if you were to gather up four of your sexually active girl crew, two of the five of you would be infected.

What do you do?

Well, first, if you are not presently sexually active, good for you!! As plans go, abstinence is cool, in spite of the media and teen voices screaming, "What's wrong with you, girl?" Life has enough heartaches without worrying about an STD or unwanted pregnancy. Abstinence in your teen years is the single best plan for avoiding an STD and reaching your life goals.

Talk with your doctor.
SDM site model Roxi

Okay, if you're sexually active, and if you're not already having annual checkups that include honest conversation on this subject, I recommend that you immediately see your doctor. And by "see" I mean "talk to" in depth. Cassondra Lynn wrote a great article in the January issue ('Sup Doc?). And remember, it's never too late to be smart, to make smart choices for your future. If you're not pregnant and your doctor says you do not have an STD, why not make the choice that insures you never will?

Finally, if you're insistent on continuing to be sexually active as a teenager, then by all means be smart about it. It's not the purpose of this article to educate you on the specifics of protected vs. unprotected sex. But we all know where that information is. And we know that just knowing about it isn't enough.

Above all, don't think: ok, it may happen to others, but not to me ... 40% IS NOT "OTHER PEOPLE"!!

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

Sweet Designs Magazine
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