Recent data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that teens and young adults are especially impacted by sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, the government agency reports that young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for half of the nearly 20 million STDs diagnosed each year, even though they represent just a quarter of the country's sexually active population.
The most common STDs among this group include human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes and syphilis, according to the CDC.
Health experts urge individuals of all ages to educate themselves about STDs, how they are spread and how to protect themselves. Knowing one's personal health status by undergoing STD testing is important, as is making sure their sexual partners have been tested for STDs, too. While abstinence is the only guaranteed way to avoid STDs, healthcare providers promote consistent use of condoms as another way to help reduce the risk.
Groups on college campuses throughout the nation have also made STD awareness a priority, as the college population is heavily impacted by these viruses and bacteria.
In fact, a recent event at Western Kentucky University helped students learn more about STDs and how they can ensure their own sexual health. The Rock 4 Choice event featured live music as well as games and activities that promoted reproductive health.
Some of the games included condom races and STD fishing - a game in which participants cast fishing lines into a pool filled with potential diseases. If they "caught" an STD, a volunteer then explained the disease's causes and treatments.
Rock 4 Choice events have been occurring nationwide since 1991. They were started by a feminist organization in order to protect women's reproductive rights as well as health clinics that provide services to women.
In the past, Rock 4 Choice events have featured well-known artists, including Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Salt-N-Pepa, No Doubt, the Offspring, Joan Osborne, Rage Against the Machine, the Foo Fighters, Sarah McLachlan, Rancid, Melissa Etheridge, the Bangles, Joan Jett, Stone Temple Pilots, Paula Cole and Iggy Pop.