The Bad and the Ugly of STI’s

Sarah Swindell
   Opinions Editor

College students have sex. Young unmarried people are sexually active. There, it has been said. It is a fact that many like to brush underneath the rug, cover their ears, close their eyes, and try to block out those aforementioned words for the sake of personal morality. There are those among us that want to forget that premarital sex exists, casual sex is real, and one-night stands happen.

If this is not something you are into, that is okay. If you are waiting for your wedding night or the one, I am so very happy for you, but the danger in forgetting what it means to ignore sex on a societal level is detrimental and truly damaging to the welfare of us all. This reality rears its ugly head by sacrificing our sexual health on a large scale.

Based on statistics gathered from the Center for Disease Control and information from local and state levels, Background Checks.org crafted a ranking of each state in our nation by most diseased. Using 100,000 individuals in regards to sexually transmitted diseases in hopes of informing the public about sexual safety before the oh-so romantic Valentine’s Day.

North Carolina, the great tar heel state, made the list at number three. Only outranked by Alaska and Louisiana, North Carolina is one of the most infected regions in the United States.

Not only is this an issue at the state-level, the CDC also reported that sexually transmitted diseases are rising across the board. This nation overall needs to be more concerned with its sexual health on the individual and cultural level.

By cultural, I mean that when looking at a larger map of the information there is a correlation of regional perceptions and the reported facts. With the exception of Alaska, the top ten states are all found in the southeastern region of America. Historically conservative and Christian-dominated states, they find themselves reporting the most incidents of sexual disease.

On the other the hand, the lowest ranking states including New Hampshire, Vermont, and New Jersey are known for their more socially liberal nature. Even with the population density of places such as California and New York affecting their final rankings, those populated states still do not outshine the south.

What can be realized is the reality of condemning sex and all related activities to the point of making such conversation taboo and almost unnatural leaves individuals vulnerable to making unhealthy choices behind closed doors.

I have heard too many stories and watched people suffer from experiences where during a consensual sexual relationship couples forgo proper precautions. They either brush it under the rug, underestimating the severity of the possible consequences, or they feel too embarrassed or ashamed to seek out those methods of contraception and proper medical treatments to avoid spreading such an infection or contracting one.

Overall, sex is swept away, making the fundamental education scarce, let alone the nuances of what it means to come across sexually transmitted diseases. People become ashamed of their disease for whatever personal demon that puts one in such a state. They hide or deny their own health because they do not want to face the realities of their infection or be forced to admit that to a sexual partner.

When Refinery29 reported on the same informational rankings on sexually transmitted infections in the United States, they included as part of the brief conclusion to their posting, “Having an STI is not shameful, it’s not embarrassing, and it’s not the end of your life — or even your sex life. We need to stop treating STI diagnosis as shameful because, honestly, anyone could get an STI — even you.”

What Kasandra Brabaw of Refinery29’s staff wrote was indeed true. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is not a death sentence. Based upon the empirical data given, if you are one of those who happen to be infected you are very obviously not alone. You are one of many dealing with something you could have received despite all your best efforts or knowledge.

Unpleasant, of course it is. Still it remains in the good, the bad, and the ugly of sexual health is vital to everyone just as their heart health and mental health are to their overall well-being.

Regarding these findings and considering our options, it seems best we all must modify our perceptions of sexual health for the betterment of our nation.When we seek out these sexual relationships, whether in college or throughout our adult lives, we must do so in an informed and safe manner. At the same time, we must create a culture around ourselves where individuals can make those necessary informed decisions.

Antiquated cultural norms cannot become a hindrance to the progression of society. While nobody should claim superiority based upon sexual encounters or lack thereof, the realities are changing toward individuals having more sexual exploration, which can be wonderful for them in the grand scheme.

Therefore, we cannot let the judgment of yesteryear wreak havoc on the sexual health of today because making a very normal act indecent does not help make the world a healthier and happier place.

 



Categories: Opinions, Uncategorized

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