Despite efforts to education efforts, STD rates are on the rise.
After years of education on safe sexual behavior and work to make a variety of types of protection accessible, why are sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates rising? Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current rise in STDs seems to be related to drug misuse. How are drug misuse and STDs connected?
The CDC Report
The latest data on STDs is from the CDC. According to The Atlantic, the data shows that “rates of gonorrhea rose by 67 percent, syphilis by 76 percent, and chlamydia by 21 percent, to a total of almost 2.3 million cases nationwide.” The rise has occurred for four years.
However, other data also shows that people are less sexually active than they used to be. Why, then, are the rates of sexually transmitted diseases rising?
People Are Having Riskier Sex
The STD rates have less to do with the amount of sex that people are having and more to do with the risk level of the particular sexual activity. It appears that people are engaging in more high-risk sexual activity. People are having sex without condoms, and they are also having sex when they are misusing drugs. According to a CDC report, 15- to 24-year-olds who reported injected drug use in the past year were more likely to be diagnosed with chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea than those who did not inject drugs.
While these STDs are not transmitted directly through drug misuse, misusing substances increases the likelihood that an individual will contract an STD. The increased risk of contracting an STD is because substance misuse is connected to higher rates of forced sex and sex that involves the exchange of money. Substance misuse can also lead to changes in decision-making, which can lead to forgetting or refusing to use condoms.
At the same time, funding cuts have impacted STD prevention programs. Decreasing the funding for prevention programs means that it is harder for people to detect STDs and to receive support for behavior that stops the spread of STDs.
How can you make a shift to healthier sexual activity?
Making a Change
Where can people go for support if they are worried about contracting an STD or concerned about risky sexual behavior and its connections to a substance use disorder?
If someone is concerned about their well-being or the health of a family member when it comes to safe sex and substance misuse, talking to a treatment center is an excellent first step. At a treatment center, people can have medical support to treat addictions that are present and get psychological support to treat co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety.
Therapy can help people address some of the challenges in life and create healthy coping strategies. Changing behaviors can help patients make healthier choices about substance use and other activities in life like sexual activity.
Are you seeking addiction treatment programs in your area? If you want to make a move toward a life free of substance use, contact The Recovery Village Columbus today. We are here to help you get treatment for a substance use disorder with medical and psychological support.