The Rising Numbers of STI’s among Millennials

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The Rise of the STI's

In the last five years now there has been a significant spike in sexually transmissible infections (STIs), particularly in young adults under the age of 25.

A sexually transmissible infection (STI) is an infection that you can get from any form of sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex, sharing sex toys, or close sexual contact. 

Contributing to the rise of STI among young adults <25 years of age is the misunderstanding that all forms of birth control can protect you from an STI. 

Some STI’s take time for symptoms to expose itself and most STI’s are highly infectious. If you feel you concerned that you may have an STI the best thing you can do is seek an assessment immediately. Sexual health clinics dedicated to the focus of STI screening are located right through Queensland.  

Let’s take a look at how todays society has impacted the rise of STI’s among young Millennials. 

Online Dating: Young, Free and Polyamorous Relationships

Apps like Tinder, Grindr, Snapchat and Instagram heavily dominate the way young adults interact and meet-up with someone new, whether it be for a coffee or tequila shots in the club. Young adults are more socially interactive on their screens than in real life. Flirty texts and racy pictures tend to be sent well before the official meet-up. Keep in mind, there are a whole bunch of Millennials with a good few love interests on the go. So, right away they are spoilt for choice. Got bored of that person? No biggie. Swipe right or sliding into DMs fixes this.  

Pap Smear and HPV testing

In the last five years Pap Smear (Cervical Screening Test) rules have changed. For young women who are under the age of 25, they are not required to have a Pap Smear until this age. In our gynaecology practice we are treating an increase in positive HPV cases in women under the age of 25. Unprotected sex with multiple partners can cause worrying symptoms, and more young women are diagnosed with an abnormal Pap Smear result, which then requires further treatment.   

Myth: Birth Control Prevents The Risk of STI’s

Wrong. Birth control prevents pregnancy and is helpful to long-cycle your period if you don’t want to have one each month. What it does not do is save a female from contracting an STI. Condoms, however, do provide an STI barrier. 

Swiping Right Landed Me an STI

Below is an honest recount of a young woman who learnt the difference between birth control and STI’s the hard way. It’s easy to judge, but remember, the younger generation are exposed to a lot of sexualised content through social media. We as healthcare providers and parents have a duty of care to ensure our youth are understanding of the differences. 

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“You’ve tested positive for Chlamydia” said the doctor.
~ I’ve never felt so unclean in all my 23 years of life. 

 

I presented to my GP after a week of burning and stinging associated with peeing. The pain on urination had become intolerable. My guess was it being the start of a UTI or thrush and perhaps I could catch it in time before it became too nasty. I booked myself an appointment for a prescription, but by the time of my appointment I had started getting a yellowish discharge with a really offensive smell. “Are you sexually active?” my GP asked. (“No shit”) I thought to myself. I’m 23 years of age living in a generation whereby hooking up has never been so accessible. “Have you been using condoms?” “No, I’m on the pill” I replied. It was then that she explained to me the difference between what the pill provides and protects us from – and STDs wasn’t one of them.

Shit.

Ironically, I haven’t been sexually active for long enough to qualify for a pap-smear, but I am sexually rampant enough to catch an STD. Given my symptoms, my GP thought it was best to test my mid-stream urine, as well as an endocervical swab.

The following 48 hours after testing dragged. Once confirmed and reality had sunk in I tried to retrace my one-night flings as well as commence the course of anti-biotics prescribed.

“You’ve tested positive for Chlamydia” said the doctor.
I’ve never felt so unclean in all my 23 years of life

 

…”Are you sure that’s my chart? I’m pretty sure its just a UTI, plus I’m only 23″

 

Age was irrelevant. However, after a stern talking to, my GP emphasised the increase of Chlamydia in those under the age of 25 due to lack of understanding, multiple partners and improper contraception use.

I left the doctors office with:

2 x tablets STAT.
A stern talking to from my GP
Four embarrassing conversations
And a whole world of shame.

That was six weeks ago now. A lesson learnt and knowledge gained. One thing however, has remained. I am no less of a woman for exploring my sexuality and who I want to be with. If anything, I can go into a relationship with far more knowledge about safe sex, looking out for my body and the body of those I choose to be with.

 

*Name withheld for privacy 

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