Studies show that cases of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and HIV have increased throughout the nation, leading researchers to believe there’s an STD epidemic.
After research was conducted and disclosed by the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH), it was evident to authors of the study that there was an STD epidemic and the public needed to be notified, especially Rhode Island residents. Data from the study indicated syphilis cases went up by 79%, cases of gonorrhea increased by 30%, and cases of HIV increased by 33%. The most heavily trending cases of HIV/AIDS and syphilis were found in the social communities for the gay, bisexual, and men who are engaging in sexual contact with other men. When comparing social categories, STDs affected African-American, Hispanic, and young-adults most.
Causes of STD Epidemic
With an STD epidemic in the nation, researchers looked into what contributing factors could be leading to the increase of infections. Scientists believe social media to be a major reason, and emphasize this because of its purpose for linking people together without the ability for these individuals to truly know about one another’s sexual history. Web sites like Tinder provide people with the opportunity to easily meet up and engage in sexual behavior.
Research into online dating has revealed that using edited personal pictures can signify the user prefers physical appearance over trust. In fact, researchers from the recent HEALTH study mentioned it was considered “both normal and acceptable for individuals to mislead or deceive their potential suitors.” The reality is even if two people did have a sexual health conversation, there’s no way to tell whether the person is being truthful. Engaging in sexual contact is still a gamble.
In between the 1980s and 1990s, the spread of STDs noticeably began to decrease in popularity mainly due to needle exchange programs. According to Medical News Today, harm reduction practices were necessary in the fight against HIV due to intravenous drug users.
It’s important to get educated about safer sex practices. “These new data underscore the importance of encouraging young people to begin talking to a doctor, nurse, or health educator about sexual health before becoming sexually active and especially after becoming sexually active,” says Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, who is a professional in the field as a sexuality specialist.
There’s misconception about sexual contact and conduct, which leads to individuals engaging in high-risk behavior that could leave them with consequences like STDs. Understanding how to be prepared by following safer sex practices like using condoms, practicing abstinence, knowing the signs that STDS display, and getting routine physical exams from a clinician can prove to act as a harm reduction in the fight against the STD epidemic to help minimize spread.
All in all, there is an increase in syphilis and HIV, which has led professionals in the field to proclaim an STD epidemic. “These data send a clear signal that despite the progress we have made in reducing STDs and HIV over the years, there is more work to do,” warned the Director Designee of HEALTH, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott.
Are you engaging in risky behavior due to an alcohol and/or drug problem? Contact The Watershed for help now.Tags: risky behaviors, sexually transmitted disease, std