It is important for parents to talk to their kids and teens about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). Your kids need to understand how STDs spread and how to protect themselves.
STDs (also called sexually transmitted infections, or STIs) are infections that spread through sex (vaginal, oral, or anal). Some STDs can spread through close contact with the genitals or body fluids.
Talking to kids and teens about sex and STDs does not make it more likely that they’ll have sex. But if they do become sexually active, they will understand the risks and know how to protect themselves.
Talking about STDs and other personal subjects like sex and puberty shouldn’t be one big talk at a particular age. Instead, start the conversation early, and slowly build on your child’s understanding. By about 10–13 years old, most kids understand what sex is and are ready to learn about STDs.
But even if your child is older and you haven’t started talking about STDs, it’s not too late to have the conversation. A late talk is better than no talk at all.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the right time to talk about STDs. A good time to start the conversation might be:
Talk about the types of STDs:
Cover these key points:
You can get reliable information about STDs at:
If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your kids about STDs, make sure they can turn to someone else for accurate information. This could be a doctor or
, counselor, school nurse, teacher, or a trusted family member.
Kids and teens need to know about STDs. It’s best if they get the facts from someone reliable.