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STD Awareness - Reaching Young People

This web page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being updated.


Nearly half of all new STD cases occur in people aged 15 to 24.

April is Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Awareness month, an annual observance to call attention to the impact of STDs and to promote STD testing across the country. Adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable to STDs. In fact, young people between 15 and 24 years of age account for nearly half of all STD cases. Healthcare providers can make a difference by educating young patients about sexual health and STD prevention. The following resources are designed to assist healthcare providers in talking to young people about the subject of STDs.

Why You Should Talk with Your Patients about STDs

  • Young patients may be afraid to initiate a conversation about STDs and will be looking to you to begin the discussion.
  • Every year STDs cost the U.S. healthcare system $17 billion—and cost individuals even more in immediate and long-term health consequences, including infertility.
  • Estimates suggest that even though young people between 15 and 24 years of age represent only 25% of the sexually-experienced population, they acquire nearly half of all new STDs.

Reportable STDs in Young People 15-24 Years of Age, by State – A resource displaying the STD rates in each state by county.

Focus on Adolescent Sexual Health Webinar Archive – (Entire presentation) A 1 hour, 29-minute webinar describing the impact of STDs and tools for engaging in a sexual-health dialogue with on adolescents and young adults. (June 2, 2011)

How to Talk with Your Patients about STDs

  • Create an environment that feels safe for them to talk openly without judgment.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that their health needs are different from the health needs of adults.
  • Ask clear, open-ended questions (avoid yes/no questions).

Teen Friendly Office Tips – An illustrated diagram of how to make your clinic spaces teen-friendly.

Taking An Adolescent’s Sexual History – Podcast featuring CDC STD Division Director Dr. Gail Bolan. (June 13, 2011)

A Guide to Taking a Sexual History – A 24 page brochure offers parameters for discussion of sexual health issues with patients.

GYT: Get Yourself Tested Campaign – A national campaign designed to encourage and empower teens to talk about and get regularly screened for STDs.

STD Awareness Providers Resources

How to Screen and Treat Your Patients

Screening for Sexually Transmitted Disease: Who, When, and How – CDC Expert Commentary on screening for MSM featuring Dr. Gail Bolan. (January 9, 2012)

2010 STD Treatment Guidelines – A detailed document describing recommended STD treatment for adolescents.

Expedited Partner Therapy – A description of a sexual partner management option to prevent patient reinfection.

CDC Commentary: Preventing Chlamydia – A four minute podcast about chlamydia, the leading known preventable cause of infertility in the United States, and what providers can do to prevent the infection.

Genital Herpes Screening – Frequently asked questions about genital herpes screening.

Information to Share with Your Patients

STD Fact Sheets from CDC – STD fact sheets with common questions and answers. Most-visited pages on the CDC STD web site!

The Facts Brochures – Basic STD information in plain language for clinicians and patients.

Clinical Education – Learn about STDs and earn continuing education units.

National Network of STD/HIV Prevention Training Centers – STD and HIV clinical training and resources.

  • National Training Calendar – Calendar of available STD and HIV trainings.
  • Training Resources – STD/HIV resources are categorized into four categories: Clinical References, Behavioral References, Partner Services References, and National

Partner Services for Medical Providers and Referring Providers – Training module. (March 13, 2012)

STD Clinical Slides – Slides depicting symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases.

Other Resources

Promote STD Awareness on Your Website – Downloadable banner ads, graphics, and widgets for partners and providers to place on their websites.

STDs and Viral Hepatitis – Descriptions of Hepatitis A, B, C, as well as testing and treatment recommendations.

CDC’s Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Web Site – Description of the virus and resources for vaccination, screening, and treatment for HPV.

CDC’s HIV/AIDS Web Site – CDC’s portal for HIV Prevention.