Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Your Sexual Behaviors May Not Keep You Safe

According to the Centers for Disease Control (2008):
     19 million STD cases each year, almost 50% are in people aged 15-24
     Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most commonly reported
     Syphilis (virtually absent 10 years ago) is on the rise
     Despite vaccine, human papillomavirus (HPV) rates increasing in those 18-59
Engaging in risky behaviors (i.e., improper use or no use of contraceptives, multiple sex partners) increases risk for contracting a STD.  Although, people who practice "safer" sex may be at an even greater risk as a result of their partners behavior.  Researchers report that partner sexual behavior is a bigger predictor of STD risk than individual behavior. 

Partner characteristics that increase STD risk:

  • Marijuana and alcohol use
  • Age difference of 5 years (older or younger)
  • History of jail/imprisonment
  • Other sexual partners in the past year
  • Having an STD in the past year

The more of the above characteristics, the higher risk for STDs.  Participants whose partners had all five were 3 times more likely to have an STD.  Overall, having an STD and age difference were the biggest predictors of STD risk.  

If you practice "safer" sex and are in a monogamous relationship, you may still be at risk, especially if your partner a) falls in the above categories & b) is dishonest about his/her behaviors.

Source: Partner Behavior and STD Risk

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