Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Can environmental factors influence STD rates?

Hydraulic fracturing, the practice of using highly-pressurized water to mine natural gas, has been a controversial practice. An environmental group called Food and Water Watch released a study on the social impact of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, called “Social Costs of Fracking: A Pennsylvania Case Study.” While the study does not see a causal relationship between fracking and STDs, it does note the correlation.

The study found that the average number of cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea rose by 32.4 percent in heavily fracked Pennsylvania counties between 2005 and 2010 while counties that did not experience fracking saw only a 20.1 percent increase. Although these two common STDs see a rise almost every year, Food and Water Watch states that once fracking began during these years, the number of cases rose twice as fast as the unfracked areas.

Researchers speculate that the uptick in STD cases is due to the number of people migrating to such rural areas. While environmental factors will not cause STDs, it is important to get tested if you believe you may have been exposed to an STD through sexual contract. Anyone who is sexually active can be exposed to an STD no matter what their job, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, or where they live.