Sexual Health is Your Responsibility

According to the American Social Health Association one in everyfour Americans will contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD)at some point in their lifetime. In most cases this is becauseindividuals did not feel they were personally at risk. However, sexual responsibility is necessary to preventingpregnancy, STDs and other health problems.

Sexual health is extremely important,especially for young adults. Advocates for Youth recently reportedthat said 27 million young Americans under the age of 25 aresexually active.  At the same time 48 percent of thoseindividuals were among the 18.9 million new cases of STDs.

However, there are three essential steps thatyou can take toward preventing and reducing your risk ofcontracting an STD and/or pregnancy. These three steps areawareness, action and assertion. By

The first step toward sexual responsibility isawareness which comes with education.  It is important thatindividuals educate themselves about how and why diseases arecontracted so that they can take the necessary steps in preventingand reducing their risks.

Based on a recent Center for Disease Controland Prevention (CDC) surveillance, adolescents and young adults areat higher risk for acquiring STDs because they may be more likelyto have multiple partners. In addition, this surveillance revealedthat adolescent women may have a “physiologically increasedsusceptibility to infection due to increased cervicalectopya” (an immature area of the cervix).

Other issues that play a role in whyadolescents do not seek medical treatment regarding sex relatedproblems include lack of insurance, lack of transportation,discomfort with facilities and services and lack of trust formedical service providers.

The second step towards sexual responsibilityis assertion. Individuals should communicate with their partnersabout their sexual history, sexual health and sexual preferences.”When it comes to intimacy, I’m open with my partnerabout what I am willing to do and also what I won’t dobecause my primary concern is my health and safety,” saidCandice Dortch, a junior sociology major student.

In recent years, heterosexual contact hasbecome the main way that HIV is transmitted in the U.S.  Thiscan be linked, in part, to people who engage in bisexualrelationships as well heterosexual relationships without sharingthis information with their partners.

The third step toward sexual responsibility isaction. You most take the necessary precautions when engaging inall sexual related activities such as using various forms ofcontraceptives. STDs such as the AIDS virus, gonorrhea, syphilisand chlamydia can be transmitted orally, vaginally and anally.According the National Institute for Health and the CDC latexcondoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effectivein preventing transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.Moreover, correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reducethe risk of other sexually transmitted diseases

Individuals must also take actions when or ifthe feel that they have been put at risk for contractingSTDs.  It is important to seek immediate medical assistanceand treatment regarding these types of problems. Early detection isvital in detecting certain diseases, can prevent long term healthcomplications and save your life. Often people do not have symptomsand may be unaware that they are infected. However, if yourecognizing physical changes in your body or just feel thatsomething is wrong you should inform someone. 

For more information about sexuallytransmitted diseases contact your local health provider, yourstudent health center and/or log on to Center for Disease Controland Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.