Sexual Health news - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Teens believe STI prevention to be difficult

With the installation of health education programs in public schools and access to the internet, most teenagers are aware of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and the possible consequences of unsafe sex. However, it doesn't prevent the 9.1 million new cases of STIs that are diagnosed each year among 15- to 24-year-olds, which account for about half of the total  STIs nationwide.

Despite what's preached to them, a study published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health found that teens and young adults believe prevention strategies, such as using condoms and abstaining from sex, may be difficult to implement and unrealistic.

The participants in the study revealed that they use their own methods to reduce the risk of acquiring an STI, some of which involves the observation of their partner's behavior and physical appearance as well as fact-checking a partner's faithfulness through regular STI testing.

"This study is incredibly important because it shows us a disconnect between adolescents and the public health messages put forth," said Aletha Akers, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh. "We need to identify whatever misconceptions about STD transmission they may have and correct them."

To decrease the rate of STIs among teenagers, public health officials need to come up with a new strategy to improve the way they send messages out to the public. It is necessary to find a way to accurately relay the consequences of passing on a STI, and encourage the proper use of contraceptives or abstaining from sexual activities.