Opinions

Quarantined and Outcasted: The Unfavorable Reputation of People with STDs/STIs

Kaetlyn Dembkoski
  Staff Writer

In a world that sometimes focuses too heavily on differences and occasionally obsesses over the notion of separating what we cannot relate too, it is not always the visible divergences that are utilized to isolate and outcast. For many, it is the differences that are not constantly in sight that are the most detrimental to our reputations as people.

For people with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), while their problems lie under a veil of clothing, they are sometimes subject to be outcasted almost to the point of quarantine by society.

While the prejudice is relatively under the surface, some strongly opinionated people may say that they see people with STIs and STDs as being nothing more than people who are diseased and cannot fit in with the rest of society.

This is not the case, fortunately. There are many people who have dedicated their lives to studying and locating cures for STIs and STDs. In turn, there are now many antibiotics and treatments that have been created to subdue or potentially eliminate the symptoms that come with both. However, even when the answers are all in place for the taking, there are some who will reject testing and preventative means. This is especially true for college students.

As college is a time in one’s life where it’s the last stand before true adulthood, there are plenty of young adults who leap into sex, after all, they are adults now! However, more and more students are unaware of the potential consequences of sex.

This is due to the lack of in-depth discussion of sex by adults, such as parents and teachers, and a lack of proper and thorough teaching within sexual education courses at schools. The lack of knowledge leaves young adults transitioning throughout college into a more independent lifestyle without enough unfiltered knowledge of the human body to truly understand the risks they might take.

To make matters worse, because of the lack of transferred knowledge being presented to young adults on the topic of sex, when they are faced with STIs and STDs, students seek, instead, to hide their flaws.

They do so in fear of being outcasted from the rest of society should they get them. That fear that rises can be understood as an anxiety that they may be quarantined off from others simply because they were not taught of the dangers surrounding unprotected sex.

As aforementioned, there are advances in treatment and antibiotics for STIs and STDs with colleges being among the places by which students can receive assistance. While treatment is available, the notion of prevention is more heavily reiterated by health centers across the United States. The logic is, rather than having the need to constantly fix the problem, it would be best never to get it at all.

While this does sound like the best possible scenario for young adults, there is a strange relation between our bodies and society’s views. For example, many people will avoid getting tested regularly for STDs and STIs despite the obvious benefit to doing so since one can never be entirely sure without being properly tested.

This comes off as a strange circumstance due to the nature of getting tested in the first place; since our births, the adult figures in our lives most likely took us to the doctors to get yearly check-ups.

We sometimes received shots, were prescribed medicines when we were not feeling our best, and even have had our private areas checked briefly. When we are sick, we resort to the doctor’s office to immediately find the source of our sickness and are given means by which to cure us.

However, when it comes to our sexual health, we do not make the time to get our bodies checked up; instead, we pray and bide our time, lest a problem be noticed and then brought to a doctor’s attention only once it has already begun to take its toll.

This problem is especially dangerous due to the diverse group of STDs and STIs in the world that can potentially do extremely detrimental harm to our bodies, even if they can be cured. For example, the STD known as Syphilis, that attacks the body in differing stages, despite being able to be cured with antibiotics, can destroy a body’s internal organ permanently if left untreated.  

According to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), “more than half of all people will have an STD/STI at some point in their lifetime.” This statement alone proves that testing for the presence of these bodily problems is of utmost importance, especially with how prevalent of an issue they could potentially be to our health.

Our society is wary of mentioning sex, but it is this hesitation that allows STDs and STIs to affect so many new people every day. While we cannot prevent certain illnesses from entering our bodies, STDs and STIs are absolutely preventable. They are a normal body issue that everyone should be knowledgeable about and acutely aware of.

If we could simply prevent cancer, we would respond immediately. Why should our responses to STIs and STDs be so different?

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