STD’s: Is Emergency Contraception Promoting Risky Sexual Behavior Among Teens

microbial STDA new study out this week makes the link between free emergency over-the-counter contraception, called plan B,  and an increase in STD rates of infection, as well as no corresponding decrease in abortion rates or pregnancy outcomes.

The study, is authored by Christine Piette Durrance, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This study examines previously published studies dealing with the issue, and attempts to reformat these results to show that free emergency contraception, available over-the-counter at pharmacies in New York City, has the opposite effect of the originally envisioned outcome.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), sometimes referred to as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), or simply Venereal Diseases (VD), are described as infections with a high rate of transmission through sexual behavior in humans. This is not the only transmission avenue, as some STDs are transmitted through the sharing of IV drug syringes, as well as through childbirth or breast-feeding.

STDs, were referred to previously as Venereal Disease or VD, previous to 1990, and are now generally referred to as STI’s or Sexually Transmitted Infections.

STI’s are caused by several different types of infections, bacterial, fungal, viral, as well as parasitic and protozoal. These are the causative agents of most STI’s, which are “transmitted” between infected sexual partners engaging in sexual activity.

Education and prevention of these infections is the key to eliminating them. There are vaccines available for some viral STI’s including hepatitis A and hepatitis B and some types of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), however two types of incurable STI’s are Herpes, HIV/AIDS virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996 estimated that more than 1 million people 1 million people globally were being infected with an STI on a daily basis. The Who has increased the estimated total of new infections worldwide to 448 million new infections of curable sexually transmitted infections on a yearly basis, and this total does not include non-curable infections, like herpes capitalize herpes and the HIV virus.

60% of these infections occur in people 25 years of age or younger, and 30% of these infections occur in people who are 20 years or younger. For young girls, under the age of 20, the risk factors are double for contracting an STI.

Effective strategy for the prevention of STI’s include: Abstinence, vaccinations, being in a monogamous relationship, reducing the number of sexual partners that you have, as well as having safe sex, i.e. condom usage.

From a medical standpoint, it is obvious that the incidence of STI’s is more common in people under 25 years old, and the recent national acceptance of the plan be policy, making emergency contraception free to all without a prescription from US pharmacies, should not be relied upon as your primary strategy for the transmission of the sometimes deadly infections.

If you’re un-sure if you have contracted an STI, get tested. Normally any healthcare provider, hospital or clinic will be able to direct you towards information about testing for STI’s. Additionally your local health department will have all the resources needed to deal with these diseases.

Article by Jim Donahue

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