For many years, we’ve shunned the topic of sexually transmitted diseases. We’ve been silent, not just to save a polite conversation, but also within our families and close relatives. Unfortunately, in our silence, the problem has taken roots and blossomed into an epidemic.
Based on the WHO report, youths and adults aged 15-49 make up for close to half of those infected every year. Some of the prevalent STDs listed during the investigation include Chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. It’s even more shocking that experts have shown concern that the number of sexually transmitted diseases infections are on the rise.
It’s Time to Break the Taboo
Why would a problem so deep in our society go unnoticed? STDs and sexuality have been a taboo topic. Even in these modern times, we still feel uncomfortable holding a conversation about STDs. Surprisingly, some patients are so overwhelmed with shame and guilt that they come up with ridiculous assertions like, “I caught this from using a public bathroom.”
Social stigma has a hand into this problem too. When our friends and relatives disclose that they have a sexually transmitted infection, we become indifferent towards them. For this reason, they will discover symptoms of an STD, but due to the fear of the stigma, such a friend does not go for testing. They also hide their STD-related problem.
Let’s Talk About STD
Ever wondered why there are many awareness programs related to drugs, HIV/AIDs and such? It is because sensitization opens the eyes of people about the subject matter. If we begin talking about STDs freely, it demystifies the diseases. People begin to appreciate, “Oh, so we can handle an STD just like any other ailment?” It becomes easier to get people start testing and treating these infections. Talking fights the stigma surrounding STDs as well.
In this case, we can begin with those close to us. Do you have a new partner, or has it been long since you discussed sexual health with your spouse? Are your children approaching adulthood? If we have a new partner and are shy about discussing sexual health issues, then it could be wise to reconsider our decision to get intimate with them.
Also, as parents and guardians, we have a unique role to play in the lives of young adults. We need to muster the courage to sit down our daughters or sons and tell them about sexually transmitted diseases and infections in their tender age. This discussion should touch on the dangers of unsafe sexual practices as well.
When they are informed at an early age, they’ll know how to avoid risky sexual behaviors during their youth and later in life. Besides, they’ll not feel uncomfortable about getting tested or opening up about their status at any point in their life. It makes them understand that an STD is a disease like any other.
Besides taking care of those in our households, we can spread the kind gesture to the society. For instance, public talks and seminars focusing on STD prevention are ideal methods of creating awareness in schools and the society at large. We can help organize such within our community.
If there are STD programs funded by the government and offered to the public, they need strengthening. We could make sure that they continue to run efficiently by supporting them as well as providing the staff. There, people can seek help on the various issues related to sex and STDs or get screened, treated, and counseled, if need be.
Let’s Seek Education on STDs
Knowledge is the secret to fighting the ignorance on matters related to STDs in the society, especially, among the young people who tend to involve themselves in sexual relationships blindly. We need to understand the signs and symptoms of STDs, transmission methods, treatment options, prevention measures, and so forth. It’s easier and more effective to talk about the diseases when we are properly informed about them.
Let’s Take Preventive Measures
First, the most important thing is to know your status and that of your partner through testing. Then other measures like proper usage of condoms can follow. Even if we cannot resist the urge to get intimate before we’ve known our statuses, we can be mindful of our health. This should propel us to practice responsible sex.
The time to have the conversation that most people find uncomfortable is now. STDs are a menace, and our indifference fuels the problem. By creating awareness, we can change the societal attitude towards sexuality and STDs. This will help in reversing the worrying trend of increasing infections. Naturally, men are leaders in families and the society. We have a responsibility in taking the lead in discussions regarding sex and STDs if we’re to succeed in fighting the epidemic.
by Ashtown Halley
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