According to a Dudy published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, men and women between the ages of 15 and 25 are most likely to contract an STD and HIV. Why is that not shocking? We know that young adults in their late teens and twenties are at their sexual peak. We also know they are the most sexually experimental. 25% of the sexually active population is within this age range. Unfortunately, these young adults account for 50% of all new STD cases.

STD and HIV Prevention

That said, these young men and women are the least likely to receive testing. A 2013 Center for Disease Control (CDC) survey of nearly 4,000 adolescents and young adults found that just 11.5% of them had received screening for an STD in the previous year. While 17% were female and 6% male, 42% of respondents who had not received testing said they thought that they were not at risk. There was no follow-up question as to why they believed they were not susceptible. However, Kendra Cuffe, the lead author of this study and a health scientist in the Division of STD Prevention at the CDC, said that not truly understanding the risk and having little access to proper care were barriers to testing for this age group. While confidentiality and cost were some of the major concerns of the young people who participated in the survey.

The Anxiety in Testing

Today with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), young people up to the age of 26 are eligible for covering by their parents’ health insurance. Though, this may cause them worry that perhaps that their parents will have access to records showing STD and HIV testing. Or, that the insurer will send policy information in the mail indicating such a test, alerting their parents that such services were provided. However, young people over 18 do have privacy rights. Even so, insurance could complicate matters.

The ACA does allow for preventative services without charge. In some cases, women have better services through the law as compared to men. Both sexes can receive HIV testing for free. Yet for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia testing is only a recommendation for sexually active women, not men. Unfortunately, these are the two most common STDs among young men and women.

While the exact reason for these rising statistics is hard to pinpoint, the body responsible for setting up the particulars of the law claimed that there was not enough information to recommend such access for men. Nevertheless, all sexually active adults and young adults should be tested at least once a year for all STDs, herpes, and HIV. If you have not been screened in the last 12 months or more, talk to a doctor or urologist and get tested.

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