In England in 2016, there were 417,584 new STI diagnoses made at sexual health services* (SHSs) in England. Of these, the most commonly diagnosed STIs were chlamydia (202,546; 49% of all new STI diagnoses), first episode genital warts (62,721; 15%), gonorrhoea (36,244; 9%), and non-specific genital infections ([NSGI] 36,774; 9%).
In the United States alone, there are around 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases every year. STDs are not restricted by age, they may be apparent or invisible and they can also affect members of your own family. With a monstrous medical cost of $17 billion in the United States alone, the economic influence of STDS is not to be underestimated.
What exactly are STDs?
Sexually transmitted diseases are infections that spread from one person to another through sexual contact. Contrary to popular opinion, penetration is not the only criteria for the spread of STDS. Some STDS can even spread simply through skin to skin contact. The most surefire way of protecting yourself from STDS is not to engage in sexual activities, or a promiscuous lifestyle. While it may be difficult and unreasonable to abstain from sex, there are plenty of ways to limit the risk of acquiring an STD. STDs are preventable through practical steps.
Reaching out to our teenage children
Parents may find it disturbing to think about the risk of sexually transmitted infections on their teenage kids. The truth of the matter is that teenage girls today, are not getting screened as early as they should be getting screened for sexually transmitted infections. This delay means the viruses get a head start to spread further and affect more individuals. It is highly recommended for girls to have themselves screened for sexually transmitted infections after their very first sexual experience. In case they do have an STD or STI, they should be getting screened periodically to monitor the diminishing infection until it no longer exists.
One city came out particularly poorly when it came to sexual health with the highest rate of STIs in the UK. London was responsible for 1 in 4 of all new cases of STIs detected. That’s over 100,000 sexually transmitted infections in one city in one year.
There have been many survey-based studies with large sample size that have all pointed to the same direction. It turns out that half of the teenage girls living in the United States cities have at least one of the three most common STIs which include Chlamydia, trichomoniasis and gonorrhea.
It is imperative to use polyurethane barrier or latex for all kinds of sex. Don’t forget that penetration isn’t always necessary to spread sexually transmitted infections. Gloves should be used for manual penetration; male condoms should be used for intercourse as well as oral sex. Additionally, female condoms are also highly effective in preventing the spread of a sexually transmitted infection. Make sure that the condoms you use have not been expired. Most importantly, a good way to ensure that the condom has not been punctured is to check the condom package for an air bubble. If the air bubble is there, it has not been punctured.
Sue Carberry specialises in Progressive Counselling – This is a self-improvement therapy that focuses on each individual as a whole and treats the mind, body and spirit which offers a whole host of valuable benefits, including relaxation and feelings of inner peace, security, comfort and well-being.