STDs are a topic that comes with a heavy stigma and a surprising lack of knowledge, especially in young people. According to the CDC and recent studies, STD rates are on the rise. For the last few years STD rates have been steadily increasing among all demographics. The most commonly reported cases include gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. While all of those STDs are easily treated, prevention truly is the best medicine! There are two major reasons experts believe that these STDs are on the rise.
Less Condom Use
A decrease in condom use during sex is a leading cause of the STDs spreading across the nation. More effective birth control methods have become available than ever before, leaving many heterosexual partners feeling like condoms aren’t necessary. It’s important to remember that condoms are the only form of protection against STDs. In the homosexual communities, a recent HIV treatment has become available, leaving individuals feeling that condoms are no longer needed.
While HIV may be preventable, other STDs can only be prevented through the use of condoms. The culture around younger demographics has begun to promote condom-less sex more than ever before, encouraging those engaging with sex for the first time to skip out on protection. Condoms can be obtained for free and there are now more options available than ever, including latex free condoms, to meet any special needs of you or your partner.
Increased Opioid Use and Drug Abuse
It’s no secret that opioid and injectable drug use has become a growing epidemic. Reports directly link the increase in opioid use to the increase in STDs like those mentioned above. Drug users are more likely to engage in risky sex behavior. This includes forced sex, sex as payment for drugs, and sex with fellow drug users. Risky sex behavior typically leads to a lack of safe sex and eventually, the spread of STDs.
Preventing the Spread
Preventing the spread of STDs is the first step towards lowering the rates and statistics reported in recent years. In addition to condom use in all sexual encounters, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself, including:
- Regular STD testing each time you have a new partner
- Open discussions about sexual history before engaging in sex
- Limiting the number of new sexual partners, you have
Keeping sex safety at the top of your priority list is vital not only to you, but to all of your current and future partners as well.