STDs, sexually transmitted diseases, are rampant. To understand how to prevent these diseases, one must understand the root causes.

These include: Sex with more than one partner, sex with a partner who has had sex with more than one person, sex with a partner who has a form of the disease, sex with someone who has a history of the disease, and using drugs intravenously.

Once the causes are known, here are ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases:

1. Before anyone engages in sex with a partner, it is a good idea to discuss his or her sexual history. Has the partner been tested for AIDS? Has he/she had more than one sexual encounter?

2. Always use protection in the form of a condom. Spermicides are not effective in reducing the risk of contracting STDs.

3. Protected sex may prevent STDs, but sex that incurs any type of cuts or bleeding can increase the risk of developing an STD. Among the most dangerous is anal sex.

4. There are vaccinations which are available to protect against HPV, the Human Papilloma Virus, which is the most common STD to date. It has been ascertained that this disease can cause cervical cancer. Although vaccinations are currently available to prevent this disease, there is no known cure.

5. Education is critical to understanding and preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Children in middle schools benefit from a curriculum which deals with HIV/AIDS, and all of the more common STDs which can affect them.

6. Parents can discuss sexually transmitted diseases with their children, age appropriate, in order to apprise them of the devastating effects these diseases can inflict on them.

7. Once sure-fire way in which STDs can be totally avoided is to refrain from having sex at all. This is especially true for teens who, due to peer pressure, may feel the need to engage in sex when they are neither ready nor able to cope with the after-effects.

Sexually transmitted diseases can have long-lasting consequences for those afflicted, as well as their families. We have seen this time and again with HIV/AIDS. The mindset among corporations to sell a product using “sexy” ads that lure our children to become involved in sex through magazines, music, and even clothing is one of the root causes.

Why is it that we have programs and campaigns to stop people from smoking, yet we spend little money on education related to sexually transmitted diseases? What the powers that be think our children need causes the problem, not the solution.