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Teens and sex 'what parents and doctors should know

Nowadays almost 70% of all high school students have sexual contacts before graduating. Each year one in eight contacts contracts a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and more than 80% of cases occur among people under 29.

What's more, one in five girls has an STD and is not aware of that. If you are a parent-be careful to educate your child.

The very important fact is that these are parents who play the most relevant role in their children's behavior. Most children admit in surveys that they need to be informed about diseases connected with sex and on how to prevent pregnancy . Unfortunately, U.S.A. is far behind other nations in providing this information.

I find it very wrong. I insist on you to play more active role in developing your child's sexual education. This includes ensuring that minimum once a year your child is examined by a competent doctor who specializes in adolescent health.

All research prove that children listen to their parents talking about sexual issues. Don't worry that talking about sex is equal with allowing this. According to some studies, when parents talk about sex, children are more likely to delay their first sexual experiences and to protect themselves against pregnancy and disease when they do have sex.

This doesn't mean that discussion is enough. After all, abstinence is the best protection against both pregnancy and STDs.

If you don't feel like talking to your kids about sex, turn them on to the Adolescent Wellness and Reproductive Education Foundation (www.awarefoundation.org), a Web site specifically designed for youngsters.

Parenting an adolescent makes the stresses of infancy seem like tropical holidays. But with strong communication, active listening and lots of love and respect, you and your kids can make it through and remain healthy.

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