Sexually transmitted diseases, STD's, also known as Venereal diseases, VD, are spread through sexual contact, and the exchange of body fluids. Anyone who is sexually active can contract an STD. Most STD's don't show symptoms, so you can have, spread and even contract an STD without even knowing it. Some STD's are serious and others can have long term consequences.

Some of the consequences could be infertility, certain cancers, and other chronic diseases years after initial infection. If symptoms do appear it may take anywhere from two days to a couple of months after initial exposure to appear. Some may take years to show up. One out of every five Americans carry a sexually transmitted disease.

More than thirteen million are affected every year. Nearly one-fifth infected are younger than twenty-five years of age. Every year three million American teenagers acquire an STD. Adolescents are at a higher risk because they may have multiple partners, unprotected intercourse, and their partners are at higher risk. You would be at a higher risk of acquiring an STD if: you or your partner have had unprotected sex with someone, if you or your partner has had sex with someone after using drugs or alcohol, you or your partner have had sex after using cocaine, or you or your partner have used IV drugs.

General Symptoms Some general symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases are genital sores, bumps, or blisters, pain and itching. In men some common symptoms could be penile discharge, pain during urination, and testicular swelling or pain. In women general symptoms could be vaginal discharge, lower abdomen pain, painful intercourse, and painful urination. Bacterial STD's like gonorrhea and chlamydia, can be cured with antibiotics. Viral STD's like genital herpes are life long infections. Ways to Prevent The number one way to prevent STD's is abstinence.

If you do decide to become sexually active, you can do a few things to prevent a STD. For example you could talk to your partner about other sexual partners they may have had, ask them if they have ever had an STD, been exposed to one, or even symptoms of one. Another thing that you could do if you have sex is to use a condom or another form of a contraceptive that helps to prevent STD's. Gonorrhea Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. If gonorrhea is not treated early, it can cause serious problems, especially in women.

About one million American men and women contract gonorrhea each year. Transmission It is very easy to contract gonorrhea. You can contract it from unprotected anal, vaginal, and oral sex. Gonorrhea can be found on the tip of the penis, in the anus, in the vagina, in the throat, and also in the eye. You can also get gonorrhea from secondary contact. For example, if you have gonorrhea and you touch the infected part with your hand you now have the disease on your hand if you now touch your eye it is possible for you to get it in your eye.

Symptoms It is possible to have gonorrhea and not have any symptoms. If symptoms do appear it will usually take from one to two weeks for anything to appear. Some possible symptoms could be discharge from the penis or vagina, the need to urinate often, burning or pain when urinating. In women bleeding between monthly periods. About half of the women with gonorrhea have no symptoms. Treatment Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics.

Ineffective or incomplete treatment can result in serious problems later, such as chronic lower abdominal pain, sterility, tubal pregnancy, and painful joints. In order to avoid reinfection and potential transmission of infection to others, you should stop having intercourse until both you and your partner are cured. The sooner you are treated the better your chances are for recovery. Chlamydia Chlamydia is the number one sexually transmitted disease. In the United States, four million new cases of chlamydia occur every year.

Transmission You can get and spread chlamydia through unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse. Also intimate skin contact such as dry humping and genital-to-genital contact, even without penetration. You can also transmit the disease through secondary contact. For example, fondling, foreplay and petting.

Symptoms Chlamydia is known as the "silent epidemic" because three quarters of women and half the men with the disease have no symptoms. Possible symptoms include discharge from the penis or vagina, a burning sensation when urinating. Additional symptoms for women include lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse and bleeding between menstrual periods. Men may experience burning and itching around the opening of the penis, pain and swelling in the testicles.

Treatment Chlamydia can be treated by various antibiotics. Once you are cured you don't have to worry about the infection coming back, unless you contract it from someone again. Herpes Genital herpes is a chronic lifelong viral infection. It is estimated that 40 million people have it. Each year about five hundred million new people get symptomatic herpes. There are even more people who have no symptoms.

Transmission Herpes can be spread very easily, depending on how good your health is. The easiest way to get it would be intimate skin contact between the affected partners skin and your own bare skin. Also oral contact of any type can transmit it. Anytime there is direct skin contact with an open sore, there is a chance of infection. Symptoms Most people have no noticeable symptoms.

If you do get symptoms you will probably notice them in about two to twenty days after being exposed to the infection. Early symptoms may include a burning sensation in the genitals, lower back pain, pain while urinating, and flu-like symptoms. A few days later, symptoms could be small red bumps in the genital area. Later these bumps may develop into painful blisters, which then crust over form a scab, and heal. Outbreaks of herpes can occur several times a year. Brought on by stress, sunlight, and sickness.

Some people believe certain food can bring on an outbreak. Treatment Herpes can be treated but not cured. Although herpes is a chronic, lifelong viral infection, you can treat the symptoms. Treatment of genital herpes outbreaks especially when started early, could shorten the duration of the outbreak and reduce the symptoms. Pubic Lice and Scabies Pubic lice is often called crabs. Scabies is often called itch mites.

Pubic lice and scabies are tiny insects that live on the skin. Pubic lice infects the hairy parts of the body, especially around the groin area and under the arms. The eggs can be seen easily on the skin, where they may hatch in five to ten days. Scabies is an itchy rash, which is the result of female mite burrowing into a persons skin to lay her eggs.

Transmission Pubic lice and scabies are sometimes spread sexually, but you can also pick them up by using the same bed linens, clothes, or towels as an infected person. Skin-on-skin contact is not necessary, just lying next to someone that is infected could transmit them. Symptoms Some people infected with pubic lice may have no symptoms. But others may experience a lot of itching around the genital area.

It will usually take about a week for symptoms to show. For scabies it will usually take about a month for symptoms to show. If it is your second infection, symptoms may appear after a day. Some people may see brown insects the size of a pinhead moving on the skin or oval eggs attached to the hair.

The main symptom of scabies is itching, usually at night. A rash may appear in the folds of skin between the fingers or on the wrists, elbows, abdomen, or genitals. Treatment The most effective treatment include shampoos and creams that contain lindane or related compounds. You can treat lice at home with these special creams and shampoos that are available at drug stores without a prescription. You may have to repeat the treatment a second time if it doesn't all go away. Do not try to treat scabies on your own.

Avoid close contact with others. If you have pubic lice or scabies then you should wash all of your clothes and bed linens in hot water. Syphilis Syphilis is a serious disease that can weaken the body, and even result in death, if it is not treated. You can have syphilis and pass it on to others and not even know it. Transmission Of course you can get it from penetrative sex.

You used to be able to get it from blood transfusions, but now the blood supplies are cleaner. You can get it from other kinds of skin contact too. Kissing, dry humping, petting, and foreplay involve skin contact, therefore, can transmit the infection. A mother can pass it on to her child during birth. Symptoms Syphilis has three stages, during the first stage, a painless sore may appear on the spot where the bacteria first entered the body, usually nine days after contact with an infected person.

The sore may appear around or in the vagina, on the penis, or inside the mouth or anus. Sores that are inside the vagina or anus are usually unnoticed and go away. If they do go away you still have the bacterial infection and the second stage may start. The second stage starts from three weeks to three months after the first stage, and include flu-like symptoms and possible hair loss. Some people experience a rash on the palms of their hands, and soles of their feet, as well as all over the entire body.

Although extremely rare, tertiary syphilis can appear three to ten years after the first and second stages. Symptoms of this stage may include skin lesions, mental deterioration, loss of sensation, shooting pain in the legs and heart disease. Treatment Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. The most common would be a shot of penicillin. Adults (over the age of 18) from the company and other people who I know were randomly assigned to receive the survey.

The group includes married males and females as well as single male and females. There are 19 female and 31 male subjects. A survey consisting of twenty statements concerning sexually transmitted disease and HIV infection. The survey was designed by myself.

The purpose of the survey is to measure participants awareness of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. I am trying to show that people are not well informed about subjects such as condom use, condom use and alcohol, transmission of sexual diseases, and the magnitude of the AIDS problem. Subjects are asked to choose the level with which they agree or disagree with each statement. There are two levels of agreement and two levels of disagreement.

See appendix A. A consent form was signed by all participants. See appendix B. Results t-test : t (48) = -2. 2185, p . 0313 | | | df cv pv Variable N Mean Std Dev.

Minimum Maximum Q 1 50 1. 420 0. 810 1. 00 4. 00 Q 10 49 1. 408 0.

810 1. 00 4. 00 Q 15 50 1. 320 0. 621 1. 00 4.

00 Q 3 48 3. 396 0. 869 1. 00 4. 00 Q 9 50 3. 240 0.

822 1. 00 4. 00 Q 6 50 3. 220 0. 834 1. 00 4.

00 Q 16 50 3. 100 0. 621 1. 00 4. 00 Methods Subjects Adults (over the age of 18) from the company and other people who I know were randomly assigned to receive the survey. The group includes married males and females as well as single male and females.

There are 19 female and 21 male subjects. Ages ranged from late teens to early fifties, with the majority being in their twenties. Independent variable Questions 6, 9, 13, and 16 on the survey. I would be comfortable eating lunch with someone with HIV or AIDS. I would be comfortable shaking hands with someone who has AIDS. I am very well informed about HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

I would not have unprotected sex with someone unless they got tested first. Dependent Variable. Awareness and education of AIDS and sexually transmitted disease. Operational Definition Awareness and education of AIDS and sexually transmitted disease equals a total score of 12 or higher on questions 6, 9, 13, and 16 of the survey. Procedures A survey consisting of twenty statements concerning sexually transmitted disease and AIDS was given to fifty subjects. A t test was performed on the results as well as a comparison of male vs.

Female scores on the Awareness and Education variable. Discussion Results of the survey have shown a need for additional education of males concerning AIDS awareness and education. Females, (89%) did verywell on the variable which was measured for satisfactory knowledge andawareness of AIDS and sexually transmitted disease. Males, (65%) didalso score well on this variable. This leaves us with 35% of the malesneeding more education and 11% of the females needing to increase thereawareness and education. The rather large number of males needingfurther education tend to support my hypotheses that yes more educationis necessary.

I was pleased to see that on the whole, people are better informed than I had originally hypothesized as demonstrated by the scores reported for specific question. The lowest score or strongest disagreement was on the statement that AIDS was no longer a big issue. People also realize that just having one sex partner at a time is not enough to protect you from AIDS as demonstrated by their response to number 10. The strongest agreement with statements on the survey concerned worrying about children's future. This being the case, why is it that behavior as is described in my research does not reflect this knowledge? People know what they need todo to reduce their chances of exposure to AIDS and sexually transmitteddiseases but they fail to do it. The research concentrated on students who are exposed to much more information about AIDS than adults who are out of the educational system.

Further education about the dangers of unprotected sex is needed as the study suggest, but we also need to understand why education is not enough. We desperately need to develop behaviors which will protect us from sexually transmitted disease and AIDS. Education Needed forAIDS, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Sexually transmitted diseases are a major health concern for ourcountry. With the spread of AIDS among so many people, both gay and heterosexual, it isimportant that we understand how these diseases spread and what we can do to preventthem. Continuing efforts to educate college students about the dangers of unprotected sex have resulted in little evidence of positive change in sexual behavior (Say wer & Moss, 93). During the 1980 s, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, thecause of AIDS, emerged as a leading cause of death in the United.

States). In 1993, HIV infection became the most common cause of death among persons aged 25-44 years. (Center for Disease Control) Because of the long latency period for HIV a large number of these people may have become infected during the ages of 18 to 24 the ages of most college students. One of the national health objectives for the year 2000 for the college age population is a reduction in unintended pregnancy and transmission of SexuallyTransmitted Diseases, including and HIV /AIDS... Studies have shown a need for educational interventions and future in-depth studies of college students.

An example is a study which showed that a group of college males who had a history of sexually transmitteddiseases, high numbers of sexual partners and inconsistent condom use still perceived their risk of HIV/AIDS infection as very low. (Sawyer and Moss, 93). College students are thought to be at high risk for Sexually Transmitted Diseases because of their high level of sexual activity and their potential for multiple sex partners Studies have shown that even students who consider themselves in long term relationships often experience casual sex with another partner (Sawyer and Moss, 93). Multiple partners seem to be the norm rather than the exception. Sawyer and Moss (1993), reported that 21% of the men sampled have had 2 to 3 sexual partners, 33% 4 to 6 partners and 39% 7 or more sexual partners. Another study reported an average of 6 different lifetime partners among female college students.

(Kusseling, Wenger and Shapiro 95) It becomes very obvious that with this type of activity occurring, the need for protection from STD is very important. The most obvious and easiest course of action would be for college students to abstain from sex, have a monogamous relationship with someone who is not infected, or reduce the risk of infection by using condoms, but this is not happening as the following studies have shown. Nicholas D. Ritchie, PhD, and Adelaide Getty, RN, BHS, CHES (1994). Francoise S.

Kusseling, MOB; Neil S. Wenger, MD, MPH; and Martin F. Shapiro, MD, PhD. (1995).

Barbara A De Buono, M. D. , M. P. H.

, Stephen Zinner, M. D. , Maxim Daamen, M. D. , and William M. McCormack, M.

D. (1989). Anita Raj, M. S. , and Robert H Pollack, PhD. , (1995).

Tina M. Brien, MSEd; Dennis L. Thombs, PhD; Colleen A. Mahoney, PhD; and Larry Wallnau, PhD.

(1993) Robin G Sawyer, Phd, and Donald J. Moss, MD. (1993) Condom use by female college students was reported to be 23%initially and 27% after a six month follow up, in a study of women attending a health clinic (Kusseling, Wenger and Shapiro 95) Another study designed to compare college women's sexual activity before and after the start of the current HIV and genital herpes virus epidemic, concluded that there had been little change is sexual practices with the exception of increased use of condoms which still had not reached the 50% point (Debunk, Zinner, Daamen, McCormack 90). Another study of college females done in 95 showed that 64% did not regularly use condoms (Raj and Pollack, 95). In one study done by Sawyer and Moss, (1993) of college men reporting to a clinic for treatment of an Sexually Transmitted Diseases 75% of the subjects reported never or only occasionally using condoms. One of the reasons that students do not use condoms is because they consume alcohol before they engage in sex.

The alcohol acts as a dis inhibitor effecting the students judgment to have sex and whether or not to use condoms for protection. In one study of 243 college students 81% of students over 21 said that they had at least once had sex because of intoxication. (Butcher, Manning, O'Neal, 91 have sex due to intoxication. Over 18% of students in another study said that they had abandoned safe sex techniques due to alcohol (Meilmand, (1993). The dangerous interaction between alcohol use and high risk sexual activities suggested that college HIV prevention efforts should make the connection between the two risk factors explicit.

(Butcher, Manning, O'Neal, 91). Other reasons for the lack of condom use among college students are their lack of confidence in discussing and using condoms. Some of the lack of confidence in discussing condom use is that many students are afraid that their partner will think that either they have a disease or that they are afraid of catching one from them. Either way they feel there is a very high chance of rejection if the topic of condoms were brought up. Communication self-efficacy was the best discriminator between those who initiate discussion about condom use and those who don't. They felt confident in their ability to insist on condom use and to handle any arguments that might come up.

(Brien, Thombs, Mahoney, and Wallnau. 1993). It is important that we recognize the need for education aboutAIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. This study will investigate peoples understanding of AIDS, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. It will show that more education is necessary to help control the spread of these diseases.

Students have been given the most education aboutAIDS and sexually transmitted diseases yet they do not have an accurate understanding of their chances of getting AIDS. The general populationdoesn't have exposure to all of the AIDS awareness training that the students do so I feel that they will know even less. The hypothesis forth is research is the following. People do not have an accurate understanding of AIDS, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. More education is needed for the general population. Education Needed forAIDS, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Sexually transmitted diseases are a major health concern for ourcountry.

With the spread of AIDS among so many people, both gay and heterosexual, it isimportant that we understand how these diseases spread and what we can do to preventthem. During the 1980 s, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, thecause of AIDS, emerged as a leading cause of death in the United. States). In 1993, HIVinfection became the most common cause of death among persons aged 25-44 years. (Center for Disease Control) Studies have shown a need for educational interventions and futurein-depth studies of college students. An example is a study whichshowed that a group of college males who had a history of sexuallytransmitted diseases, high numbers of sexual partners and inconsistentcondom use still perceived their risk of HIV/AIDS infection as very low.

(Sawyer and Moss, 93). This study will investigate peoples understanding of AIDS, HIV andsexually transmitted diseases. It will show that more education is necessary to help control the spread of these diseases. The hypothesis for this research is the following. People do not have an accurate understanding of AIDS, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. More education is needed for the general population.

Sexually transmitted diseases are a major health concern for ourcountry. With the spread of AIDS among so many people, both gay and heterosexual, it is important that we understand how these diseases spread and what we can do to preventthem. During the 1980 s, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, the cause of AIDS, emerged as a leading cause of death in the United. States). In 1993, HIVinfection became the most common cause of death among persons aged 25-44 years. (Center for Disease Control) Studies have shown a need for educational interventions and futurein-depth studies of college students.

An example is a study whichshowed that a group of college males who had a history of sexuallytransmitted diseases, high numbers of sexual partners and inconsistentcondom use still perceived their risk of HIV/AIDS infection as very low. (Sawyer and Moss, 93). College students are probably the best informed about AIDS and yet they still need more education as their sexual behavior indicates. If this group of well educated individuals needs more education, what does the general public need in the area of AIDS and sexually transmitted disease education. The way most people learn is through the news, magazines andthe newspaper. I do not think that this is enough.

This study will investigate peoples understanding of AIDS, HIV and sexually transmitteddiseases. It will show that more education is necessary to help control the spread of these diseases. The hypothesis for this research is the following. People do not have an accurate understanding of AIDS, HIV andsexually transmitted diseases.

More education is needed for the general population. SURVEY Survey instructions The following questions are a survey being done for a Psychology 221 research course. There are 20 questions about your ideas, beliefs and sexual behavior related to HIV and Sexually transmitted diseases. The time to complete this survey should be 15 to 20 minutes, so please take your time and consider each question carefully and try to answer as truthfully as possible.

The survey is completely confidential as I will not ask for your name or student ID. Number. The purpose of this survey is to better understand the need for HIV and Sexually TransmittedDiseases education. If at any time you do not feel comfortable responding to a statement you may skip it or decide to stop taking the survey.

If you decide to stop taking the survey and leave please take the unfinished survey with you to discard to assure your privacy. Each statement is responded to by circling the most correct number under each statement. Your answers are numbered from 1 through 4. Below is a chart explaining the rating for each answer. 1. Totally disagree or None of the time 2.

Disagree somewhat or Sometimes 3. Agree somewhat or Usually 4. Totally agree or All the timeConsentForm Date I, , state that I am over 18 years of age and that I voluntarily agree to participate in a research project conducted by psychology student at. The research is being conducted in order to better understand the need for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Disease education. The specific task I will perform requires me to fill out a survey about my beliefs about HIV andsexually transmitted diseases, my chances of getting the HIV virus and my beliefs concerning condom use and safe sex practices... I will not be asked to identify myself in relation to the survey which I fill out.

I acknowledge that has explained the task to me fully; has informed me that I may withdraw from participation at anytime without prejudice or penalty; has offered to answer any questions I might have concerning the research procedure; has assured me that any information that I give will be used for research purposes only and will be kept confidential. I also acknowledge that the benefits derived from, or rewards given for, my participation have been fully explained to me-as well as alternative methods if available, for earning these rewards-and that Have been promised, upon completion of the research task, a brief description of the role my specific performance plays in this project. There will be no reimbursement for your participation from me () or the school. SIGNATURE OF RESEARCHER SIGNATURE OF PARTICIPANT Education Needed for AIDS, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Abstract Results of the survey have shown a need for additional education of males concerning AIDS awareness and education. Females, (89%) did verywell on the variable which was measured for satisfactory knowledge andawareness of AIDS and sexually transmitted disease. Males, (65%) didalso score well on this variable.

This leaves us with 35% of the malesneeding more education and 11% of the females needing to increase thereawareness and education. The rather large number of males needingfurther education tend to support my hypotheses that yes more educationis necessary. On the whole, people are better informed than had originally been hypothesized. MeasuresSurveyMy age isMy sex isMy education level is Check one, I am single, married, divorced I have children and their ages are 1-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21+ 1. Aids is a lower income and gay problem, I don't need to worry. 2.

I would never go out with someone who was HIV positive, or who had AIDS. 3. I worry about my children's future and them getting AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. 4. People now have fewer sex partners due to AIDS. 5.

People use condoms more frequently because of AIDS. 6. I would be comfortable eating lunch with someone with HIV or AIDS. 7. People do not use condoms as much after they have been drinking. 8.

People know enough about AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. 9. I would be comfortable shaking hands with someone who has AIDS. 10. As long as you only have one sex partner you are safe. 11.

I don't worry about sexually transmitted diseases. 12. I believe that our educational system has been effective in presenting AIDS related information to students. 13.

I am very well informed about HIV, AIDS and other sexuallytransmitted diseases. 14. We spend too much money on AIDS related research. It would be better spent on cancer research which is more important. 15. I do not think HIV and AIDS is such a big problem anymore.

16. I would not have unprotected sex with someone unless they got tested first. 17. People are more likely to become sexually involved if they have been drinking.

18. I would feel comfortable discussing condom use with a potential sexual partner before ever having any sexual contact. 19. Most single people usually have had a few drinks before they have sex. 20. People who get HIV and AIDS kind of deserve it for being stupid 1 2 3 4 Circle 1 for totally disagree 2 for somewhat disagree 3 for somewhat agree 4 totally agree Bibliography References Nicholas D.

Ritchie, PhD, and Adelaide Getty, RN, BHS, CHES (1994). Did an AIDS peer education program change first-year college students' behaviors? The journal of American college Health, January vol 42, 163-166 Dona Schneider, PhD, MPH; Micheal R. Greenberg, PhD; Monica Dev anas, PhD; Anu Saj ja, MPH; Fern Goodhart, CHES; and David Burns, AM (1994). Evaluating HIV/AIDS Education in the University Setting.

Journal of American College Health, vol 43, 11-15. James Jac card, PhD; Ruth Andrea Levinson, PhD; and Luann Beamer, MA. (1994). Student Opinion Leaders and HIV/AIDS Knowledge and Risk Behavior. Journal of American College Health, 1995, vol 43, (5) March, p 216- 223 Barbara A De Buono, M. D.

, M. P. H. , Stephen H Zinner, M. D.

, Maxim Daamen, M. D. , and William M. McCormack, M. D.

(1989). Sexual behavior of college women in 1975, 1986, and 1989. New England Journal of Medicine, 1990 vol 322 (12), March. P 821-825 Robin G Sawyer, Phd, and Donald J. Moss, MD. (1993).

Sexually transmitted diseases in college men: A preliminary clinical investigation. Journal of American College Health 1993, vol 42 (3) November, p 111-115 Anita Raj, M. S. , and Robert H Pollack, PhD. , (1995). Factors predicting High-Risk sexual behavior in heterosexual college females.

Journal of sex and marital Therapy, Vol. 21, No. 3, Fall, 213-223 Francoise S. Kusseling, MOB; Neil S. Wenger, MD, MPH; and Martin F. Shapiro, MD, PhD.

(1995). Inconsistent Contraceptive Use Among Female College Students: Implications for Intervention. Vol 43, march 191-194 Tina M. Brien, MSEd; Dennis L.

Thombs, PhD; Colleen A. Mahoney, PhD; and Larry Wallnau, PhD. Dimensions of Self-Efficacy Among Three Distinct Groups of Condom Users. Journal of American College Health Vol 42 January Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1996 Vol. 45, No. 6 February 16 Philip W Mailman PhD.

Alcohol Induced Sexual Behavior on Campus. Journal of American College Health. Vol 42, (1) July 1993 p 27-31 Abstinence And STD Prevention Today's world is full of worries and problems which did not affect teens a generation ago. New problems keep appearing in today's world, such as STDs, increased pregnancy rates, and other factors facing teens who choose to have sex. Emotionally and physically teens and getting less developed before having sex and are not prepared for the serious problems which come along with their decision to have sex. No longer is it a matter which will just go away if we ignore it, but teen health and the health of our society depend on choices which today's teens make regarding sex.

With so many diseases and problems facing today's world, abstinence is the only way to protect ourselves. Abstinence is a safe choice in preventing the possibility of pregnancy. One-tenth of young women between the ages of 15 and 19 get pregnant every year, 83 percent of these pregnancies are unwanted or unplanned. Half of the unmarried teens who get pregnant do so within six months of their first sexual experience. In fact, between 1986 and 1990, teen childbearing increased by 16 percent. What's worse, pregnant teenagers often don't see a doctor until the time of delivery.

Another serious problem surrounding teen sexual intercourse is the probability of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Each year, three million teens are infected with STDs. Among 14- to 20-year-olds, chlamydia is the most common. It has no obvious symptoms, and can cause infertility if left untreated. Another common disease is herpes, which causes sores and painful swelling of the genitals.

Its symptoms can be managed, but not cured. Fifteen percent of all teenage girls carry the virus that causes genital warts, another common STD. Gonorrhea, not uncommon in teens, is known to cause pelvic pain, discharge, and painful urination. It may leave its victims sterile. Perhaps even more serious is the disease Syphilis, which killed famous mobster Al Capone.

It causes sores, rashes, brain and organ damage, and death. It can also harm an unborn child. AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a growing danger, and is by far the most serious sexually transmitted disease. AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds.

Cases among teens have grown 62 percent in the past two years, and the number of teens with AIDS doubles every 14 months. A fifth of all AIDS victims in this country today are in their twenties, and since the disease takes two to ten years to develop, those victims contracted it in their teenage years. Even scarier is that, according to a study of 19 universities, one in 500 college students may carry the AIDS virus. With these frightening statistics, it's easy to see why many teens are choosing not to have sex. Many bold teenagers think they can totally avoid pregnancy and STDs by using various forms of contraceptives. However, while it does lessen the chances of disease and unwanted pregnancy, birth control is not always dependable.

Although sex my bring appeal to our generation, the best way to prevent teen pregnancy and STD's is by practicing abstinence. Hopefully before any more people are infected by some of these deadly diseases, kids will get the idea that being safe and practicing abstinence is the best way to go.