I had the privilege of spending the weekend with some of my closest friends. During dinner, my friends’ 13 year old son began discussing his middle school led sexual education program. He noted the excessive focus that all sex leads to STD’s. In a trumped up tone he exclaimed ‘what’s the big deal people, wear a condom!!!!’ What an excellent and easy solution! One can see in the chart below, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the top two STDs in the U.S.A and both preventible with effective condom use.
This chart leaves out a variety of other STD’s which are important to consider AND prevent, particularly HIV/AIDS:
According to the CDC in 2005,
- There were more new diagnoses of HIV in individuals over 40 than in people under 40, but it was a close call.
- Though blacks bear a disproportionate burden of HIV in the United States, whites and Hispanics accounted for approximately half of all new HIV diagnoses.
- Heterosexual sex was responsible for twice as many new HIV cases as injection drug use.
- Male-to-male sexual transmission was the source of approximately half of new reported HIV infections.
- Approximately one quarter of all new infections occurred in women.
Fortunately with increased awareness, funding and treatment options, many are aware of the disease and its risks within the U.S., yet there are other STD’s that some may never of heard. Such as the two most common in women.
What would you guess is the most frequently transmitted STD in sexually active young women?
‘There are more than 100 types of HPV, at least 30 of which are spread by sexual contact. HPV has been linked to certain types of skin cancers as well as: Throat, Penile, Cervical, and Anal.’
“More than 50 percent of sexually active adults are thought to be infected with at least one strain of the virus, and up to 80 percent of sexually active women will have been exposed to the virus by the time they turn 50.”
STD 101 by Elizabeth Boskey, PHD About.com
Since both Herpes and Genital Warts are skin to skin contact and an outbreak can cover all areas in the vulva, testicles, perineum and anus….it would seemingly require a full body condom to prevent transmission.
The question is: What increases my risks? What steps can one take to reduce the risks? Does all sex lead to STD’s?
Unprotected Sex.If you have unprotected sex with a partner who has chlamydia or gonorrhea, you have an 70-80% chance of contracting the STD.
A history of more than one STD’s
Intoxication/Drug- Alcohol Use and Abuse and Injecting Drugs
Being a young female (young cervix/changing cells/increased risk of contracting STD’s)
Reduce the Risks:
Don’t start so early….waiting can be worth it
Stay Sober and Healthy
Chances of contracting an STD:
Some statistics say 1 in 10 people have had an STD, another would quote 1 in 5. The real deal….not everyone has one, yet you need to behave as if they do.
Don’t be scared, be smart!
Respect your body, make healthy choices and also use condoms.
Lastly, enjoy. Sex can be a wonderful experience, just do it wisely.