A Sunday telegraph article on the weekend (27/9/15) headed “chlamydia rampant in teens” featured this advice: “parents may have to step up to the plate with the birds and bees talk after climbing chlamydia rates in teenagers suggest safe – sex education at school is failing our kids”
Experts estimate 500,000 young Australians have Chlamydia. That’s a lot! Chlamydia can in the early stages be treated with a course of antibiotics. Unfortunately if it’s left to its own devices it will slowly cause blockages in the Fallopian tubes to the point where conception becomes difficult and at worst impossible. Chlamydia is now one of the leading causes of infertility in our nation. When I ask the young women who I work with how many of them would at some point like to become a parent, I am encouraged by the response. So many young women have aspirations of motherhood at some stage in the future. Chlamydia has stolen the gift of parenthood from far too many! Despite such high rates of this STI in Australia, many young people are surprised to hear of its prevalence and the way it can affect their future.
I’ve spoken to young women who are concerned that they may have contracted chlamydia and are wanting to have a sexual health check-up but are fearful about talking to their parents.
Our message to parents is clear; provide a place where your child can discuss topics such as STI’s. The greatest tragedy, I believe is for a young person who due to fear hides individual choices they have made from their parents. In their hiding, they miss their window of opportunity to be screened by a health professional and receive treatment for an STI like chlamydia, which can be treated in the early stages. Articles like this one are an excellent tool for parents to begin open conversations with their child that are caring and informed. Every young person deserves the opportunity to have healthy discussions about these topics.