Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Start Free Trial

Many people believe that American males and females under age 25 are most likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases. Is there a discrepancy between this statistical risk and behavior? Why is that?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

First of all, consider the factors that place any person most at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease. There are several:

  1. Engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners.
  2. Engaging in unprotected sexual activity.
  3. Engaging in sexual activity outside of a monogamous relationship.
  4. Engaging in sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The idea that American males and females under the age of 25 are most "at risk" for contracting sexually transmitted diseases most likely stems from statistical evidence that this is the age range in which the above behaviors are most prevalent. By this rationale, there is no discrepancy between statistical risk and behavior.

However, this is not to say that all American males and females under the age of 25 carry the same risk of contracting an STD. Those who do not engage in the above behaviors significantly lower their personal risk. Even if the amount of STD infected people is higher in males and females under the age of 25, the risk of personally contracting an STD is universally lowered by anyone who chooses to engage in well-informed, safe, and protected sexual activity. This not only includes the use of condoms, it also includes an overall heightened sense of responsibility in any sexual relationship. This is accomplished by being well informed of your own sexual history and the sexual history of your partner, by having open communication about this in sexual relationships.

It could also be noted that the risk of contracting an STD is virtually eliminated for anyone who chooses to remain abstinent from sexual activity altogether.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team