Sexually Transmitted diseases (STD) are one of the major causes of death in teenagers and young adults. 6 out of 10 high school teens are sexually active and 1 in 4 teens contract an STD every year, according to DoSomething.org Memphis has been named number one in top ten cities leading Tennessee in the std epidemic. A sexually transmitted disease as any disease or infection that can be transmitted by sexual contact (Merriam – Webster).
One way to prevent the widespread epidemic throughout the city is starting in the communities and we must first become interested and more educated to speak out on the topic. Majority of young adults engaging in sex, have yet to get tested. There are numerous ways in helping solve STDs risk, but the main solution to this problem is open communication, trust, and above all, abstinence. Open communication between a child and their parent should start at an appropriate age. The comfort level between the child and parent needs to be high in order to maintain a proper healthy relationship.
The child should be able to trust the parent enough to open and talk about this subject. Young adults should be able to trust their parents and parents should be able to trust their children. The home should always be a judge free zone. I always felt that the best way for teenagers to prevent STDs is to not have sexual intercourse. Abstinence is a choice to not to have sex. Simply saying no to sex can significantly reduce the chances of Purnell 2 contracting a STD. This is the only 100% effective method from a prevention of a sexual transmitted disease.
Teenagers (14 – 18) are more likely to acquire an STD and not know the severity of the disease because of lack of being educated. The writer feels that the education should start at home.Parents must take the time and the first step to explain to the child the importance of prevention. Open communication with children will possibly decrease the risk of a child obtaining a sexually transmitted disease. Although the conversation may be uncomfortable, it is better that children know the importance of safe sex rather than obtaining an STD or much worse, AIDS. Some teens and young adults fear talking to parents about such topics. Teens may be afraid to share with parents in fear of punishment due to being sexually active. Some teens may even be embarrassed to inform parents that they have experienced sex.
This should not be the case. Teens and young adults should be more comfortable about speaking of such topic. Healthline.com also deals with the correct approach on dealing with safe sex. It starts with protection before sex, to practicing safe sex, using condoms correctly, and most importantly potential risks and takeaways. Protection before sex can help an individual take the proper steps in preventing an STD. Being honest with your potential partners about both of your sexual histories can decrease the chances of obtaining an STD. Lastly, the best way from protection before sex, is to ensure the chances of not getting an STD is getting tested together. Practicing safe sex involves using the appropriate condoms during sexual intercourse.
After sex, rinsing off can help remove any infectious material on your skin. Women should always urinate after sex. Which helps reduces the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI). Although using condoms correctly sounds easy, one should always take precaution whatsoever. Like leaving room at the tip, Purnell 3 checking expirations dates, looking for punctured holes into the condom. All in all, the potential risk are STDs or even worse aids. Just be honest and clean or simply wait. In 2016, a study was taken to monitor the sexual transmitted diseases/ infections in Memphis to see where the city ranked among others in the mid- south.
According to the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Memphis ranked 8th in the country. In 2018, the rate of Memphians diagnosed with a sexual transmitted disease is up by double digits from 2017. Dr. ark Castellaw, a doctor at the Baptist Medical Group has seen numerous cases of Chlamydia and gonorrhea. Dr. Castellaw’s biggest issue is that the fact that his patients being treated for infections and/or diseases are getting younger and younger by the minute. Dr. Castellaw stated, “There’s been a rapid increase in the age group, 15 to 24. And I truly believe there is a lack of fear of disease. A lack of fear of a fatal event happening from a STD. They could not be more wrong. These diseases are coming back. And they are coming back with a vengeance.’ Sexually transmitted diseases can be very contagious.
Even though teenagers and young adults know about the risks they put themselves into, majority of them do not care and are playing Russian roulette with their bodies. Only sexually transmitted diseases caused by bacteria can be cured with antibiotics. Viruses on the other hand, can be managed but not cured. Some of the more common STD bacteria around the mid-south include; chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Chlamydia is the most frequent of three bacterial infections. According to the Shelby County Health Dept., it is caused by an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is transmitted through anal, oral, or vaginal sex. Even though Chlamydia can be found in both men and women, it can cause severe permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system.
If a pregnant woman is infected, her child could be at risk during child birth. Chlamydia is treatable, Purnell 4 but if left untreated, the infection could result in a pelvic inflammatory disease. In 2016, there were 8,157 confirmed cases of Chlamydia in Shelby County (Shelby C. Health Department 51). Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Gonorrhea is caused by an infection with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. If not treated in a timely matter, the infection can also spread to the blood stream and cause a life-threatening disease called disseminated gonococcal infection.
Shelby County Health Department Chief of Epidemiology, David Sweat, said that although fewer people are being diagnosed with Chlamydia and gonorrhea in Shelby county, the rates are still the highest in the country. In 2016, there were 3,024 confirmed cases of gonorrhea in Shelby County (Shelby County Health Department 52). Syphilis is a disease caused by Treponema pallidum and is infectious during the primary and secondary stages when lesions are present. The final stage is Latent stage. The primary stage of Syphilis is painless, hard to find, and can sneak up on you. It only heals if you are treated. If the patient is not treated, the secondary stage of Syphilis begins. This is when the skin rashes start to appear. The latent stages begin when the primary and secondary symptoms disappear.
Syphilis takes down the immune system and makes the patient more vulnerable to what was once the most frightening disease of all: HIV. The virus that still strikes fear in the heart of Memphis’ infectious disease specialists. If these infections are caught and treated in a timely fashion, then the diseases will likely go away. A shot of penicillin can usually cure the early stage syphilis. However, if the infection is not treated properly, it could lead to other major illnesses such as blindness, HIV and sometimes death. In 2016, there were 659 confirmed cases of syphilis in Shelby County and majority of the cases were in latent stage.
There are various myths associated Purnell 5 with sexually transmitted diseases. For example, teenagers and young adults have often been told that a sexually transmitted disease could be obtained from sitting on the toilet seats, in swimming pools, or sharing foods. These infections/diseases can only be transmitted through sexual contact. A survey was taken in 2007 that showed nearly 63 percent of Memphis public high school students had been sexually active (Commercial Appeal 1).
In conclusion, the writer feels that being educated is an important part of an individual life. Knowing the risk, knowing how to protect oneself from a STD/STI is important. Yes, sex is beautiful and natural, but in my opinion, sex should be treated as important One way to prevent the widespread epidemic throughout the city of Memphis is to educate our communities and take responsibility for ones’ action. Majority of the people who have a sexually transmitted disease are unaware. It is okay to get tested, one should not fear knowing the status of their physical health.
Being diagnosed of an STD/STI is not fun, and what’s even less fun is not knowing at all. Many people have avoided getting tested because they are afraid of knowing, but if you catch the disease early enough some are curable and easier to treat. Waiting too late or not knowing at all could cause serious health problems, so getting tested should not be something we fear, it should be something we are proud of doing. The safest way to protect oneself from a STD is to practice abstinence.