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From The Critics"Sex is for the moment but an STD is for a lifetime." Echoing these haunting, but true, words, this "hot issues" book tackles the world of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and their effects. Author Ann Byers not only describes all the major STDs, their symptoms, and possible cures, but also discusses the changing attitudes and mores that have led to an increase in sexual activity which has resulted in over a million people a year being diagnosed with an STD. Once the "whys" of STDs are examined, the book moves on to a clear description of the types of infections and the diseases themselves. Numerous charts and graphs help to emphasize the information and make it easier to understand. Since preventing STDs is the goal of health officials, the book's final chapter discusses how eliminating risky behavior, choosing partners carefully, and using a condom help stem the tide of STDs. But, Byers points out, abstinence and a drug-free lifestyle are the only sure way to remain healthy.
The section titled "Where to Find Help" provides toll-free numbers and Web sites for more in-depth information, and a glossary helps to sort out the new vocabulary. A reading list cites places to look for even more information. Although the reading level of the book is appropriate for fifth to sixth graders, the content most definitely belongs in junior high school. Overall, the volume is a good introduction to STDs and a good beginning point for a discussion of how changing attitudes can have far-reaching effects. (from the Hot Issues Series.) Highly Recommended, Grades 7-12. REVIEWER: Cathy J. Walters (La Salle Academy)