Sex is Never Safe Enough: Have Your Sexually Active Child Get These Tests

Your daughter may tell you she’s a virgin.  Technically, she may be, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t having anal or oral sex.  Both can cause sexually transmitted diseases. You may think you’ve done your duty as a parent because you explained “the birds and bees” at one point to her.  Maybe you told her to use a condom. But the discussion should be ongoing even if it makes you and she blush. 

Now it’s time to urge her to get tested for STDs, especially if you know your teen is sexually active. But which ones?

Teens who have oral sex should get regular throat tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Those who have insert sex should have urine tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

If your teen, regardless of condom use, is having receptive anal sex, he/she should get rectal tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and blood tests for syphilis and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency virus) at their checkups.

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Did you know that?:

It is possible to have HIV for ten years and not know it, but during that time, someone who’s infected can spread it to many others. Late-Stage HIV does cause symptoms but it can be confused with other ailments. Half of the new HIV infections (approximately 55,000 per year) in the United States occur in their age group 13-24.

How Are The Tests Done?

How does your teen get tested for HIV? What are they testing for?  The tests are designed to detect HIV antibodies, the substances the body makes in response to exposure to HIV. These tests should work two to eight weeks after exposure.

Most results of standard HIV tests take a few days unless the blood or oral fluid sample is a false positive. 

Standard Blood Tests:To get results, you may have to wait two weeks. If the test is positive (even false positive), it has to be repeated and rechecked.

Rapid Testing:  Takes only 20 minutes. A positive rapid test must be confirmed by another more specific test like the standard blood test before a diagnosis is given.

Home Testing:  There is only one FDA-approved home test for HIV called the Home Access HIV-1 Kit. Many drug stores carry this test.  You prick your own finger, place a few drops of blood on a blotter, and send it to a national laboratory.  To get results, you phone.

Oral Testing: Uses mouth swabs (saliva) instead of blood. There are two FDA-approved.

Where Do You Get The Tests?

Local Testing Site:  Probably the most complete facility with rapid testing. Good place if you don’t have medical insurance. Free counseling available.

Doctor’s Office:  For teens who are comfortable with doctors in an office setting, this would be an excellent choice.

At-Home Tests: Good choices for a shy teen who doesn’t want face-to-face contact with the medical profession and wants his results kept confidential.

Whatever environment you teen is comfortable with and will follow up and actually go to be tested, that’s the one you should select.    

Wesley Davidson is an award-winning writer.  She has written articles on health and childcare for such publications as Good Housekeeping, Adoptive Families, and American Baby, She is currently collaborating with Dr. Tobkes on an advice book for straight parents of gay and lesbian children. She writes a blog in which she offers support to parents on raising gay and lesbian children. GLBT Teens “What Gay Teens Need to Know About HIV/AIDS