Millions of Millennials Ditch Condoms, Spread STIs

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Millennials have been accused of having an unsafe approach to protected sex. STIs are at an all time high, and increasing exponentially among millennials. In a culture that advertises casual sex with one or more partners, most young adults are not as cautious as they should be when having sex. Most are not questioning their partner’s sexual history and are therefore ignorant of the scientific evidence that condoms prevent STIs, or are simply choosing to ignore the necessity of condoms. In smaller circles where people are more familiar with each other, the initial trust that exists between individuals prompts people to bypass the question of their partner’s sexual health before intercourse.

Dr. Hansa Bhargava, a WebMD medical editor and pediatrician based in Atlanta says, “In a casual relationship, if a person feels like they ‘know’ the other person, they are less likely to practice protected sex.”

A CDC report stated that people between the “ages of 15-24 make up just over one quarter of the sexually active population account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year. ” In studies observed by the Huffington Post and the New York Post, a common response to the question of why young people aren’t using condoms is that they prefer not to use them because the feeling of sexual pleasure is greater.

For women particularly, the use of birth control pills, contraceptive implants, and vaccinations are often used as excuses to not use condoms. Some have also admitted to being unconcerned about their own health and the risk of STIs and STDs if the infections are relatively curable. The CDC also reports that the rates of syphilis have quadrupled from 2000 to 2016 and the rates of gonorrhea have surged 46 percent since 2010.

With the increase of STIs there are companies that have made it easier for people to have access to getting condoms and anything else they need to practice safe sex. A company called goPuff is a nationwide convenience store on wheels that provides young people with virtually any tangible need that their sexual appetite desires. The company reported that among the plethora of “Pump Worx Beginner’s Power Pump” and “Quickie Cuffs” sold, condom sales were basically nonexistent. However, pregnancy test sales were a-plenty. So, if the problem isn’t in-access to condoms, what is the problem?

It’s clear that millennials are not using condoms and will probably continue not using condoms until they feel the need to. Millennials may also simply be unaware of the consequences of unprotected sex as most are only concerned with the looming risk of pregnancy and not their reproductive health.

The truth is, STI’s are dangerous and especially harmful to women. According to the American Sexual Health Association, “When STIs go untreated they can cause fertility problems, particularly in women.”

Chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are often undetectable until screened for, can cause a disease called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which is an infection of the fallopian tubes and uterus. This disease not only affects a woman’s ability to conceive a baby, but can also cause issues during delivery and to the newborn as well.

If we can begin a conversation about sexual and reproductive health separate from contraceptive education, then maybe millennials will realize the importance of using protection when they want to have sex.

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