However, by understanding the statistics of the past, we can focus on raising the future generation of young adults who might have a better chance of having better sex and keeping themselves safe while they do so.
STI’s And STD’s
STI’s (Sexually Transmitted infections) and STD’s (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) are the biggest problems that can face young and sexually active adults. An STI can be spread by any type of unprotected intercourse, and sadly most of them are asymptomatic. So most young adults, unless they are being tested for them, are spreading them around to their partner(s). Since most of them are incurable, this can also be a problem.
STD’s can also be spread via any type of unprotected intercourse, and they are also common and don’t have a lot of symptoms. While it might seem like an STI and an STD can be used interchangeably, they actually are different. One is a disease and the other is an infection, although one can cause the other, as an infection inside the body can progress into a disease.
The CDC estimates that back in 2018, almost half of the 26 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections were from youth that were between 15-24 years of age. Since most young adults don’t get tested after having sex or inquire if their partner has any STD’s, there are probably more cases that don’t get treated as well.
In order to protect yourself from both STD’s and STI’s, getting tested regularly, having conversations with your partner about their own sexual health, and protecting yourself during sex with the use of condoms can be very helpful to keep everything healthy. Addtiionally, if you find yourself with an STI or STD, then there’s medication available that can cure the disease or at least make the symptoms mangable, such as aciclovir tablets for herpes in young adults.
The Age That People Are Starting To Become Sexually Active
By the time most teenagers turn 18 and have to deal with the raging hormones, they will have had at least some type of sexual experience. However, back in 2017, the data showed that the median age for having sex (vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse) was 16 years old, with 75% of youth having vaginal, anal, or oral intercoure by age 19.
The Use Of Protection
Regardless of the age or the type of intercourse, what really matters is how protected the youth are. Proper protection stops unwanted pregnancy, prevents STD’s and STI’s from being transmitted, and also allows both parties to feel comfortable around one another. In 2019, however, it was shown that the condom use for sexually active high school students was around 54%, although those doing intercourse for the first time had statistics of 78% for males and 89% for females.
Additionally, most females use birth control, and according to the 2015-2017 NSFG (National Survey of Family Growth), teen women aged 15-19 used either a condom (93%), pulling out or withdrawal (65%) and the pill (53%). Additionally 31% of teen women from 15-17 used contraceptive services from publicly funded clinics.
How Can We Help Young Adults With This Data?
The data is showing that young adults are having more sex, younger, while also using less protection and also getting at risk for more STIs and STDs. In order to keep young adults safe, we need to focus on teaching them about how to have sex with a partner safely. This can include choosing the right partner who shares your values, proper usage of protection and what protection options are the best for preventing problems and unwanted pregnancies.
By making sure that young adults know how to keep themselves safe when having sex, and also removing the stigma around STIs and STDs, and giving them opportunities to get tested without shame or worry, then everyone can have a happy and healthy time with their sexual lives.
Understanding the statistics of the sexual health of young adults might be a bit awkward to think about, but the more the data is understood and analyzed, the more the young adults can be guided into their hormones and their feelings for whatever gender they are attracted too.