Scary New STI Stats Show The US Could Use A Safe Sex Refresher

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man and woman lying in bed with condom
It's 2014, but new reports show condom use has stalled among singles and STIs are on the rise.

In case you didn't get the memo, February is National Condom Month. What does this mean for you? It means it's time to really understand just how important condom use is, that is, if you want to keep your body, your lady bits specifically, clean and healthy.

Although we've all grown up with sex education, what we've learned doesn't appear to be sticking. According to the Center for Disease Control, rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are on the rise to such a degree that the United States is actually way behind other Western countries when it comes to taking control of the ever-growing issue of STIs. Through even further research, because condoms are their thing, Trojan found that "condom usage has stalled at only 1 in 3 sex acts among singles involving a condom." Come on, you guys? Why are we slipping?

While the CDC estimates that roughly 20 million people in the United States contact an STI a year, half of that number goes to the crowd of 15–24 year olds. Further studies in England found that more than 5,000 kids under the age of consent (some as young as 11) were treated for one STI or another in 2013, up from a little over 2,000 just 10 years ago.

Not only are these numbers scary, especially in kids so young, but the fear many doctors have is that children, because that's what they are, will be too scared to get the necessary treatment they need, and will just continue to go about their condom-free sex life, spreading the infections even more. With the #1 STI in 15-year-olds being chlamydia, the reality of that crippling fear to go to a doctor can be devastating, not just in the spreading of the infection, but because chlamydia, often silent in its attack, can lead to infertility. Of those infected, 87 percent of them are girls. This is a serious problem.

In addition to these STI rates, almost half (49 percent) of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the United States every year were not planned. If you want to take that math even further, we;re looking at 3.2 million babies that were "accidents." Whether it's a happy accident, or less than so is your call, but the fact remains that this is something that could easily be solved with proper birth control use, and condoms specifically.

If you're going to be sexually active, condom use is paramount. Even if you're on the pill, adding condoms for extra protection, most especially during one-night stands, is the best way to keep yourself and your future partners' healthy. If you truly love sex and hope to have a very long sex life, the most important thing you can do now is wrap it up, ladies and gents. Being sexually active, means being responsible, and it’s the responsible people who don't have to have that awkward conversation about how they have herpes on a first date. There may be treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, but herpes, my friends, is forever.

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