The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or ya know, CDC for short) released some pretty alarming new data about the rise of three sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea.
Let’s see those numbers. CDC says nearly 2.3 million new cases of these infections were reported in the U.S. in 2017 – almost 200,000 (!) more cases than in 2016. In fact, these infections have been rising steadily in recent years. Since 2013, the total number of cases has increased by 31 percent.
If the rates of these infections are skyrocketing, it must be because Americans are having more sex, right? Not so fast! According to The Atlantic, some studies indicate that Americans are having less sex. One study “found that American adults were engaging in sex nine fewer times a year on average than they did in the late 1990s.”
Why the increase in STIs? The Atlantic article goes on to say:
“Gail Bolan, the director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, … explained that the sexual behaviors known to be contributing to widespread STD transmission have almost nothing to do with how much sex people are having—rather, it’s riskier sex that’s being had.”
So experts suggest the rise could be happening because people are having riskier sex, such as not using condoms consistently and correctly during every sexual encounter.
So, what can YOU do?
Protect yourself: Remember, condoms are still the only form of contraception that protect against both unintended pregnancy and STIs. And oral dams are a great way to protect against STIs during oral sex. Not sure how to bring up condom use with your partner? Here’s some ideas. Can’t fit a condom that fits? Find your fit with myONE’s 60 sizes.
Get tested: Remember those scary slides in health class? We do. The truth is: most STIs have no symptoms. Meaning, you have to get tested in order to know. The good news is: chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are treatable with antibiotics. CDC also says many people don’t get tested so they never get treated, which can result in “severe adverse health effects that include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk.” So get tested, and be in the know! See CDC’s GetTested tool to find a location near you.
Advocate for sexual health: ONE® believes that together, we can advocate for sexual health in our communities. Check out our Momentum advocacy platform, where you complete challenges promoting sexual health. You also get sweet rewards, like ONE products and access to giveaways. You can also start safer sex conversations by designing a condom wrapper, voting for your favorite designs, or hosting a condom fashion show at your school. First step: get inspired by stories from some of ONE advocates around the country.
Thanks for helping us build community, educate each other, and start conversations about sexual health. Together we are ONE.