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Home - News - Education and Testing are Necessary to Reduce Stigma and Combat the Grow of STIs

Education and Testing are Necessary to Reduce Stigma and Combat the Grow of STIs

April 17, 2023

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise, especially among young people


Over the past decade, the United States has witnessed alarming increases in rates of STIs including syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, amounting to a public health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most cases occurred in adolescents and young adults aged 15-24, accounting for 53% of new STIs in 2020.


The prevalence of certain STIs are highest among adolescents and young adults in the US. For example, the reported prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhea is highest among females in adolescence and young adulthood, and many contract HPV during this time.


People who start having sex in early adolescence are at higher risk for STIs, as are adolescents living in detention facilities; those who receive services at STD clinics; those who engage in commercial sexual exploitation or live-in sex, exchanging sex for drugs, money, food, housing; men who have sex with men; young people who are transgender; and adolescents with disabilities, substance abuse, or mental health disorders.



Sexuality Education


Adolescence is a time of growing independence, and young people should enjoy privacy in their relationships. Creating trusting, inclusive and confidential spaces for counseling and building relationships with guardians and health workers is critical to providing education, screening and treatment for young people.


As long as a diagnosis of STIs is accompanied by stigma, interventions will have a hard time succeeding. Stigma can lead to a worsening of the epidemic, especially when assumptions are made about an adolescent or young person's sexual behavior or lifestyle. Sexuality education must be evidence-based, normalizing sexual relationships and promoting safe and healthy sexual behaviors to a wide variety of young people.


Education is also key to reducing stigma and preventing an increase in sexually transmitted infections. Many people are not aware of the seriousness of STIs, which can lead to an increase in irresponsible sexual behavior and the spread of these infections. Comprehensive education can help individuals understand the risks associated with unprotected sexual contact and how to protect themselves. In addition, more private and rapid testing can help reduce the stigma associated with STIs, as knowledge and awareness of these infections can help people feel less ashamed or embarrassed about their infections.


Rapid STI testing


Rapid testing for STIs helps detect and diagnose them faster, which means individuals can be treated quickly before the infection spreads further. This is especially important for STIs, which can have serious health consequences if left untreated.


Overall, rapid testing and education about STIs is critical to reducing stigma and preventing an increase in STIs. Rapid testing can diagnose these infections quickly and accurately, allowing patients to take the necessary steps to treat them quickly. At the same time, comprehensive STI education can help people better understand the risks of unprotected sexual contact and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.