In the heat of the moment, it's a good bet that sexually transmitted infections are the last thing on a teen's or young adult's mind.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, young people ages 15 to 24, who make up just more than one-quarter of the sexually active population, account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the U.S. each year.
With this being STD Awareness Month, officials are emphasizing efforts to educate teens and their parents about the public health issue to slow the spread of diseases among young people.
While sexually transmitted infections affect people of all ages, they take a particularly heavy physical toll on young people, said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention.
This is true especially for young women going through puberty because biological factors make it easier for organisms to enter their reproductive systems.
Among the eight common sexually transmitted infections, she said, the human papillomavirus, or HPV, is by far the most common among teens and young adults.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes and trichomoniasis are also common among the young age group.
Undiagnosed infections cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year, according to the CDC.