April is Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Awareness Month and this is the perfect time to get to know the facts about infections and diseases. It is also the right moment to educate teens and young adults about the realities they will face in their future sex lives and how they could improve it by being aware about STDs. A 2014 report presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states that 20 million new cases of STDs occur every year in the U.S. That is about 54,000 new cases occurring each day, which makes the chances of getting infected very high. The CDC also stated that 50 percent of the 20 million cases are among teens and young adults between the ages of 15 to 24.
It is particularly alarming that a recent survey carried out by Planned Parenthood, showed that in couples who are not monogamous, 58 percent of women who were surveyed had sexual intercourse without the use of a condom, and 95 percent never or rarely used protection during oral sex. It is estimated that approximately half of all young people who are sexually active will contract an STD before they reach the age of 25, and may not know it.
While the majority of STD instances do display signs, everyone who has been infected does not experience the symptoms. This puts them at a greater risk of spreading the disease without even being aware of it. Even with all the information that is available regarding STDs, many adolescents think that it will not happen to them. Individuals can decrease their risk of catching a disease by simply remaining in a faithful relationship with a partner who has been tested, limiting the number of intimate partners, and by making sure that protection is being used. Thus, people can improve their sex lives through STD awareness.
STDs are a severe threat to public health, affecting individuals of all sexual orientations and races, the elderly, young people, and people with low and high incomes. Every sexually active individual should get tested routinely and practice safe sex, especially if there is a chance of infection. STDs are usually considered as diseases even when there are no symptoms. These diseases are caused by infections which get passed on from one person to another during sexual contact. It is uncommon, but some people do refer to them as sexually transmitted infections.
This is because medically, infections do not cause any symptoms. They are only referred to as diseases when they cause any sign of illness. There are several different types of STDs and sexually transmitted infections that can increase the possibility of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among men and women. Infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia are leading causes of infertility among women. Early diagnosis is vital in preventing serious health problems. The CDC recommends yearly screening since STDs sometimes show no symptoms or signs.
A national campaign called Get Yourself Tested (GYT) was launched in April 2009 to increase STD awareness and thus, help people improve their sex lives. People in the U.S. can contact their local centers for further details and advice. From Monday, April 20 through Saturday, April 25, as part of the seventh annual GYT campaign, free HIV and STD tests will be available at participating health centers. Along with that, individuals can also get a personal and confidential counseling session with one of the center’s health professionals. Everyone is entitled to a sex life that is healthy, safe, and fun. Getting tested regularly will help ensure that partners have an active intimate relationship by avoiding any serious health problems.
By Ankur Sinha