The Rising Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are something that should be a concern of every sexually active person. No one is immune to the risk and people can contract a disease and remain symptom free for a number of years. This puts them at risk of unintentionally infecting others and causing the spread of illness. The number of partners the average American has during their lifetime has declined from 11 with the baby boomer generation to approximately 8 sexual partners for millennials. Despite this decline, and the availability of condoms and sexual education programs, the rate of infection of STDs has increased.

The CDC has released data showing that rates of infection of chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea has risen quickly. So fast that the 1.4 million cases of chlamydia reported in 2014 were the highest ever annual number of new contractions of a disease ever reported to the CDC in a single year. Their current estimate is that 20 million new STD infections are happening every year. The most frightening fact of this statistic is that the group most affected by the problem are people aged 15-24. This is a concern because younger individuals face a risk of a lifetime of health consequences like infertility and higher rates of cancer. They are also more likely to have more partners after infection than someone who contracts a disease later in life and could potentially infect more people.

The only 100 percent guaranteed method of preventing infection or exposure to an STD is to abstain entirely from sex. Since this is unlikely to be a path most people will want to consider, the second best option is to always use a condom during intercourse. In order to prevent the spread of any diseases to partners in a monogamous relationship or to avoid potential birth defects, people should be tested prior to beginning a relationship or before trying for a pregnancy. STD testing is private, fast and painless. There are urine and blood tests depending on the type of infection and at-home testing is available. The results take only a couple of days to receive and if the tests are positive the treatment can begin immediately.