Risky Neighborhood, Risky Sex?

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A new study says those who live in violent neighborhoods are less likely to practice safe sex.

Where you live has everything to do with your sexual behavior, at least according to a recent study. If you're exposed to violence on a regular basis within your immediate surroundings, you are more likely to engage in risky sex. What is risky sex? Condom-free, nasty sex, with multiple partners that will eventually result in unwanted babies, STDs and probably the end of mankind. That last bit may seem dramatic, but the end of mankind is inevitable, so we might as well place the blame on STDs — for now anyway. Hopefully it can scare people into condom use, which I've been preaching for eons.

The study examined 481 female patients at an urban STD clinic to see how the violence in their neighborhood may affect their risk factor for STDs and unplanned pregnancies. The group was mostly African-American and low-income. The researchers found that the higher the levels of violence in the community ("compared to the general population"), the more drinking and drug use there is, which eventually leads to unsafe sex. 

Researchers broke up the women into four groups, based on their level of exposure to violence. As the rate of violence increased, the percentage of women exposed to it dropped, but the fact remained: Violent surroundings not only have a negative effect on your life as a whole, but on the way you approach sex as well. If you grow up in a crime-ridden environment, you're more likely to put yourself in jeopardy.

While we can't swoop in and save these women immediately, this research will hopefully be the first step in providing accessible knowledge and in-your-face education as a means to remedy this heartbreaking epidemic. One can only hope that studies like this will help to make politicians who are anti-Planned Parenthood funding see just how essential it is to keep these communities alive and well. No matter one's ethnicity or socioeconomic standing, everyone should have easy access to health care and preventative measures to put the kibosh on STDs and unwanted pregnancies. But for the last time, everyone, everywhere, wrap it up before you get busy! Seriously.  

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