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STIs on the rise

Sex is great. But have you considered that it is also a potentially dangerous activity?

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By Xtina (Contributor)

It’s like a present: you have to wrap it first.  (Image: Robert Elyov / flickr)

It’s like a present: you have to wrap it first. (Image: Robert Elyov / flickr)

Sex is great. But have you considered that it is also a potentially dangerous activity? Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are still on the rise in young adults. According to Fraser Health and the Centre for Disease Control, STIs are particularly prevalent among those in the 15-24 age range. Why? There seems to be a combination of behavioural, biological and cultural reasons for this increase.

Behavioural

Teen sex is never well-thought-out. Usually it’s spur-of-the-moment or a half-baked plan. It’s generally clumsy and awkward at best. Maybe it’s in a damp basement on the original shag carpet that hasn’t been cleaned since the ‘80s — you’ll definitely be picking that stuff out of your hair later. Or perhaps you have access to a car with almost enough room to get horizontal in.

Whether it’s a stale basement or cramped car, the cavalier nature of teenage sex almost guarantees condoms will not be available. Getting tested before rolling around in shag carpet or making heel marks on the roof of that Civic may be a winning idea.

The same issues can be seen in 18-24 year olds. They may have upgraded to a messy dorm room or shared apartment, but the lack of a prophylactic is still an issue. Does this sound familiar? “I guess we don’t need a condom; I’m on the pill.” Too bad that pill doesn’t protect against STIs.

Is pregnancy really the worst thing that can result from unprotected sex? Think again. There are diseases floating around out there that can make your sexual organs virtually unrecognizable. Google some examples. I guarantee you’ll be scarred.

Biological

Adolescent females are at an increased risk of getting some STIs. Chlamydia, for example is more common among teen girls because of increased cervical ectropion — when the epithelium protrudes outside the external os of the cervix. This is not abnormal, but leads to higher risk of infection. Chlamydia affects one in 15 girls aged 14-19 and, if left untreated, can lead to serious reproductive problems. Another reason to rubber up before waving your private parts at someone.

Cultural

Cultural and socio-economic barriers are responsible for their share of infections. Many young men and women are uncomfortable talking to their parents about sex. And the idea of talking to a stranger about it is out of the question. Lack of resources, transportation, and education are also to blame for the spread of STIs.

It takes a determined and resourceful youth to overcome these obstacles and find prophylactic paradise. Unsafe sexual partners are lurking at every turn. But if you can persevere, you will have healthy sexual organs in the long run.

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