Young people today hook up without questioning their partners about STDs. The results are a historic high in infection rates. And now, experts are wondering what to do about the problem. One of the most challenging aspects is the social stigma. Because of this, men often brush over their sexual experience and assure a partner that they’re okay, and women usually take what they say at face value, reluctant to push farther, ask more questions, and find out the details. 15 to 24 year-olds are some of the most susceptible to STDs. But some young women say that their partners are lackadaisical about the issue, and that inquiring and testing ultimately falls to them. A recent survey conducted by Cosmopolitan and Esquire of 1,454 young people ages 18 to 35, queried them about their sexual experiences. 47% said they never questioned any of their past partners about STDs before having sex.
58% of women were tested in the past year. But only 33% of men were. Men were also more likely to have never gotten an STD test. 33% of men hadn’t, while just 11% of women were never tested. A clear third of respondents said that they never had or that they didn’t know if they did. 18% said they’d had chlamydia, 11% HPV, five percent oral or genital herpes, and four percent gonorrhea. Oftentimes, the burden of the STD talk fell upon women. 82% said both partners should initiate testing. Yet, 52% of women said they’d broached the subject with their partner, while 27% of men did so. This may be one reason that millennial women have seen such a major uptick in STD rates. Another, they are more likely than men not to consider oral sex a form of sex. But of course, all forms are risky. Another problem is that today, sometimes friends hook up. In this scenario, the STD conversation doesn’t seem necessary, since you probably know each other’s sexual history. But you may not know everything. Regardless of your gender, if you’re having sex, know that you can catch an STD. Protect yourself and see a doctor or urologist every 12 months for testing.