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The Nation’s Declining Sexual Health

Unfortunately, it looks like sexual health in the U.S. is declining. With the advances in medication, healthcare, and increased awareness, one would expect Americans to have better sexual health now than in previous years. However, a number of factors seem to be increasing risky sexual behavior.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report earlier this year, showing that sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. Increased infection numbers of common STDs like syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea have been seen in recent years. This illustrates just how ineffective prevention methods have been.

One major tool for preventing the spread of STDs is education. Sexual education is controversial though, as many feel that the topic of sex is not a school subject, but something to be discussed by parents at home. If sexual education isn’t present in schools, and parents fail to properly inform and educate their children regarding sexual health and the dangers of unprotected sex, then the potentially life-saving information falls through the cracks.

Matters weren’t helped any when the pope recently stated his view that condoms are only increasing the AIDS problem in Africa.

The lack of education and understanding is showing negative results in schools. A new study published by the University of Texas School of Public Health found that middle schoolers, as young as 12, are engaging in risky sexual activity. According to a professor of behavioral science who was part of this study, youth who engage in sexual activity before age 14 are much more likely to have multiple sex partners and unprotected sex, which puts them at greater risk for contracting and spreading STDs. This particular study found that one third of the sexually active students were having unprotected sex.

The lack of education isn’t just effecting today’s youth. More older people are contracting STDs too. Thanks to drugs like Viagra, more elderly couples are able to engage in sexual activities. While most of the sexual health education has been focused towards kids, it seems that older people dismiss STDs as something only younger people need to worry about. Older people too need to be taught the importance of safe sex.

The current economy is another factor that may be causing risky sexual behavior. Resulting from increased stress levels, doctors are noting a rise in cases of sex addiction and reckless sex, which results in STD transmission.

Whether one’s preference for avoiding STDs is safe sex or abstinence, education is still essential, for without proper education, one lacks the motivation to choose either method.

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