STDs and Children

A Guide for talking with kids about STDs.

As most parents know, it can be difficult to discuss sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with children. There are many reasons for this, including the risk of the children asking embarrassing questions that the parent may not have answers for.

Despite the difficulty associated with discussing this subject, most parents of preteens and teens know the importance of arming their kids with the right STD knowledge. Matter-of-fact conversations between parents and children may help the kids not only understand STDs but also avoid them.

This is a lot of stigmas attached to STDs, and your children may have preconceived notions about them. Kids may also have received quite a bit of conflicting information from the media, their peers, and even the public school system.  Another great resource about STDs and children is

Talking To Your Child About STDs  Best Time to Discuss STDs With Children

There is no “best” time to discuss STDs with your children; the timing of this discussion is up to you. Your children may also preempt the discussion by asking questions about STDs.

Look for signs that your children may be coming into sexual awareness and raising more questions about the subject of sexual health and sex in general. Most parenting experts recommend that you begin discussing sex and safe sex practices with your children in their early preteen years, but also mention that you can have a talk with them as late as 18 or 19.

A late talk about sex, sexuality and sexual health including STDs is better than no talk at all.

How to Initiate Conversation About STDs With Children

Though your children may come to you and initiate the conversation, you may find it easier to use the media—like movies, television, and music—to help aid you in bringing up the topic of sexually transmitted diseases.

Ask them how they feel about a certain portrayal of sex that they may have witnessed in a show or movie or what they think a certain song lyric may mean to them. You can use the Internet to your advantage. Find a good website dedicated to STDs and sexual health like, go over the content together, ask questions, and answer any questions the children may have.

Your children trust you and consider you a reliable source of information. It is your job, as a parent or guardian to provide a safe and open environment for your children to ask questions about STDs and sexual health.

Talking to your children about STDs can be a difficult conversation to initiate. However, it’s essential to start the conversation early and build on your child’s understanding as they grow. Here are some tips for creating the conversation:

  1. Offer a message of unconditional love and support to your child.
  2. Begin with an “I” statement, such as, “I’ve heard that more teens are getting STDs these days.”
  3. Be honest about how you feel when talking about STDs with your teen.
  4. Try not to give your teen too much information at once – use age-appropriate language and concepts they can understand.
  5. Start the conversation early – by 10-13 years old most kids understand what sex is and are ready to learn more about protecting themselves from STDs.
  6. Use current events or conversations in popular media to start the discussion with your teen about STDs and prevention methods, such as saying no to sexual activity, using condoms, or refraining from engaging in sexual contact with multiple partners.

Talking to your children about STDs is essential to helping them protect their health now and in the future. By starting the conversation early and being honest and supportive, you can help ensure they have all the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health.

Educate Yourself About STDs

As a trusted source of information, educate yourself about STDs. There is a lot of misinformation about STDs and the transmission of STDs that may confuse even you. Get comfortable with the subject and with saying things like ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ and ‘gonorrhea’ to your children. Being informed and comfortable is the most important step in discussing this sensitive topic with your children.

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Find Out What Your Children Know About STDs

Next, ask your children what they know about STDs, safe sex, and sexual health. With the increased showing of sexual activity in the media, kids are more aware now than ever of sexual practices—safe, promiscuous, or otherwise. Gauging their knowledge may be as simple as asking questions like “Do you know what a condom is?” “Do you know how to use a condom?” or “Do you know how and where to get tested for STDs?” Being blunt often helps because your children will pick up on your honesty and the frankness of the conversation.

Remember, your children are already talking about STDs and sex with their friends, classmates, and others in school.

Let your children have some control over the conversation. Let them ask questions, express their own opinions, and voice fears and worries. If you let them have some say over what direction the conversation takes, you may be able to have a more successful and meaningful discussion.

Explain that the only sure way to remain STD-free is through abstinence. However, also give your children the tools they may need if they ever find themselves in situations involving sexual activities.

It is essential to talk to your children about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Parents need to have an open and honest conversation with their children about STDs so they understand the risks and how to protect themselves.

When talking to your children about STDs, it is important to start by asking them what they know. This will help you gauge their understanding of the topic and give you a starting point for further discussion. You can ask questions such as “What do you know about STDs?” or “What have you heard about STDs?” You may also want to ask more specific questions, such as “Do you know what chlamydia is?” or “Do you know how HIV/AIDS is spread?”

Once you have an idea of what your children already know, it is important to provide accurate information about STDs. Explain the different types of STDs, how they are spread, and how they can be prevented. Be sure to emphasize that abstinence is the only way to avoid getting an STD. If your children are sexually active or plan on becoming sexually active, ensure they understand the importance of using condoms every time they have sex and getting tested regularly for STDs.

Finally, it is essential to let your children know that they can come to you for advice and support if they have any questions or concerns about STDs. Let them know that it is okay to talk openly with you about these issues without fear of judgment or criticism.

Talking with your children about STDs may seem intimidating at first, but it is essential in helping them stay safe and healthy. By having an open dialogue with your kids, you can ensure they understand the risks of unprotected sex and how best to protect themselves from getting an STD.

std in childrenTalk About Condoms and Safer Sex

Talk about condoms, dental dams, and birth control and how to use them. Do not scold them for any questions they may have or if they admit they have already participated in sexual activity, either with or without prevention. Keep an open and honest line of communication between you and the children.  The National STD Curriculum is a great source of information when talking stds and children.

The only way to have a good conversation between children and parents about sexual health and STD prevention is to be completely honest when discussing the subject and getting std testing when necessary.

Medically Reviewed by on June 10, 2023

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Author: Nick Corlis

Nick Corlis is a writer, marketer, and designer. He graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, with a degree in Digital Communications. Nick is proud to be able to help eliminate the stigma of STD testing through his writing and is always trying to advocate the importance of your sexual health. Before STDcheck, his favorite way to develop his writing skills was by accepting various writing jobs in college and maintaining multiple blogs. Nick wears many hats here at STDcheck, but specifically enjoys writing accurate, well-researched content that is not only informative and relatable but sometimes also contains memes. When not writing, Nick likes to race cars and go-karts, eat Japanese food, and play games on his computer.