Young adulthood is something many enter into with excitement. But applying for and attending college, first loves, big parties, and first jobs are not the only things that many experience during this stage in life. According to the federal government, young adults are also prone to their first STD. The rate has increased dramatically between 1999 and 2014 according to recent CDC numbers. The young adult population, those between the ages of 15 and 24, are particularly prone. The two diseases affecting young people most are luckily curable, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Since 2013 the gonorrhea rate has climbed 5.1% and the chlamydia rate 2.8%. A new STD called mycoplasma genitalium is also disproportionately affecting the age group. Syphilis has seen a tremendous upsurge too. Luckily, these are curable with antibiotics. There is one strain of gonorrhea that is resistant however. What’s more, conditions are often asymptomatic. That means a carrier can have and transfer the bacteria to others, without even knowing it.
Researchers claim that those in this demographic make up a small percentage of the actual, sexually active population. That said, young people make up two-thirds of all new cases. The CDC report, penned by Michigan State University Professor Stephanie Amada, put forth a few theories on this. One reason is “hookup culture.” Part of it is alcohol consumption which often fuels hookups. But inebriation makes sex partners less diligent in using protection. A lack of communication may be another factor.
Many think stopping for a condom would kill the mood. Amanda also teaches a “Women in America” class. She says the resistance to condom use is often portrayed by men, and wonders why young women do not refuse to have sex under these circumstances. Amanda does not outright blame apps like Tinder. But she does say that hookup culture may have made a difficult conversation even more so. Her advice, if you are going to have sex, use a condom. Any sexually active adult should also be tested once per year. If you are up for an STD screening, be sure and contact a doctor or urologist near you.