With the increasing number of sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses in the United States, specialists grow worrisome that we aren’t taking the proper precautions to protect ourselves from these illnesses.
Each year, cases of chlamydia and syphilis are rapidly growing. In Worcester, STIs are making themselves known more than ever before. According to a recent Worcester Business Journal article, from 2012 to 2017 in Massachusetts, the CDC reports chlamydia up 47 percent; reported cases of gonorrhea up 200 percent; and syphilis up nearly 120 percent over 2012.
What Do You Know about Sexually Transmitted Infections? Take this quiz.
Older Adults and STIs – Age Is No Protection
STIs may seem like a young person’s problem. Not true. Anyone who has sex could catch an STI. Never assume that the person you’re having sex with can’t have an infection just because they’re an older adult. What should you know?
- Most STIs are passed through contact with the body fluids, genital sores or blood of an infected person.
- You’re at risk if you:
- Have had sex with even one person who has an STI
- Have multiple sex partners (this increases the chance that one of them has an STI)
- Have had sex with a new or casual partner without using a latex condom
- Think that any of the above could be true for a past or present sex partner
Talking to Your Teen About Safe Sex
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents start talking to children about their bodies and sex at an age-appropriate level, when they first ask where babies come from. Although many teens may say they know everything about sex, studies have found that many aren’t completely informed about sex and sexually transmitted infections.
- Talk calmly and honestly about safe sex.
- Practice talking about safe sex with another adult before approaching your teen.
- Listen to your teen and answer any questions. Dispel any myths they have heard.
- Topics that are appropriate for a safe sex discussion may include STIs and prevention, peer pressure to have sex, birth control, different forms of sexuality and date rape.
Your primary care provider has a wealth of information on STI prevention and treatment. Planned Parenthood can also be a great resource for educating schools, parents, and individuals in the community about sexual health and the importance of protecting yourself. The more normal discussing sexual health becomes, the more comfortable you’ll be when it comes to prevention, testing and treatment of infections.