Having a relationship with a person of their interest, allows the couple to form a bond between them. When the bond between them is strong, they may come to the decision of taking their relationship to the next level, which is sex. During sex, the person and their partner engage is sexual behavior. In the heat of the moment, the two’s minds are in complete ecstasy, disregarding what is going on. During the mince of ecstasy, even the littlest things can be forgotten like a condom. After everything has toned down and ejaculation as occurred, not only has the person engaged in unprotected sex, they have also exposed themselves to sexually transmitted diseases.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are diseases that are obtained through unprotected sex with an infected person. Since some STDs show no symptoms, it’s usually hard to tell if the person is infected or not, regardless whether or not you have engaged in sex. According to It’s Your Sex Life.com (n.d.), “1 in 2 sexually active people will get an STD by the age of 25.” Unfortunately, the statistics are true; many young adults aren’t aware they have conducted a STD until they are tested. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2008), there is an “estimate that there are approximately 19 million new STD infections each year”. Majority of the infected people range from the ages 15 to 24 thus proving something is going on within the community. With this being said, Healthy People 2020 (2010), a guide used to plan goals for the next 10 years that help improve the well being of the U.S., has a goal set for STDs: “Promote healthy sexual behaviors, strengthen community capacity, and increase access to quality services to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and their complications.”
With society today being so modern, it would seem obvious that almost all ages, except children under the age of 14, would know how to protect themselves, in the case of any sexual behavior. Health promoters try to educate young adults about sex at an early age so they know how to be smart about it, yet sometimes the resources aren’t always available for them. Some on-site research has shown, some high schools have dropped sex education because California state doesn’t have enough funding for the school to continue on educating the school. In addition, the schools do not promote students to have sex to the point they don’t even provide condoms so they can practice safer sex. With so much teens coming in to clinics being diagnosed with some type of STD or sexually transmitted infection (STI), the issue has been brought to the table of public health professionals to think is the lack of education in safer sex or even the accessibility of basic contraceptives really that difficult to obtain in certain populations. Without the basic knowledge of using a condom, a latex or polyurethane rubber sheath used to wrap the penis and to protect the penis from contracting any STDs or at least reducing on contracting anything, young adults’, even adults, will continue to act irresponsible during sex. According to dosomething.org (n.d.), “46% of American high school students have had sexual intercourse and potentially are at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, other STDs.”
There are a wide range of STDs, approximately 25 infectious organisms, which can be transmitted. Healthy People 2020 have set 10 objectives that promote positive and safe sexual activity. The 1st objective of Healthy People 2020: Sexually transmitted disease is to reduce the number of cases in adolescents and young adults who have Chlamydia trachomatis infections. Health promoters see these objectives and try to make programs accessible in their community. For example, Healthy People 2020 mentioned how in 2008, 12.8 percent females and 7 percent males, all aged 24 years and under who are enrolled in National Job Training Programs, tested positive for Chlamydia trachomatis. With these baselines, health promoters will set family planning clinics for females and males to attend so they can seek out treatment. They hope that if they can encourage females to attend family planning clinics so they can reach the target of reducing it from 7.4 percent to 6.7 percent. For females aged 24 years and under, the target is 11.5 percent. For male age 24 years and under, the target is 6.3 percent. Some objectives are still in the developmental stage, like the 2nd objective: decrease the rate of Chlamydia among females aged 15 to 44 years old.
The 3rd objective focuses in the increase of sexually active females aged 24 years and below to be enrolled in Medicaid plans so they can get screened for genital Chlamydia infections during the year. If women were to sign up for Medicaid, they won’t feel as if they had to pay for a clinical visit. For the 3rd objective the baseline is “52.7 percent of sexually active females aged 16 to 20 years enrolled in Medicaid plans were screened for genital Chlamydia infections during the measurement year, as reported in 2008” (Healthy People 2020, 2008). Their target for increasing the proportion of sexually active females aged 16 to 20 years is 74.4 percent due to the fact the initial percent of female that reported that they contributed to getting check up is 52.7 percent. The baseline for sexually active females aged 21 to 24 years enrolled in getting screened for Chlamydia infections we 59.4 percent but their goal was to raise it to 80 percent. The 4th objective promotes the increase of commercial health insurance plans for sexually active females, aged 24 years and under, to be screened for genital Chlamydia infectious throughout the year. The baseline for sexually active females aged 16 to 20 years is 40.1 percent who are currently enrolled in a commercial health insurance plan where they were screened for genital Chlamydia infections. Their target now is to increase the percent to 65.9 percent so they can better help diagnosis patients earlier.
The 5th objective discusses how 4.2 percent of 15 to 44 years female reported, in 2006 to 2010, that they needed treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease. What health educators would do to try to prevent the cases from growing would be is to instruct females to attend family clinics to seek help and also reeducate them about sexually protecting themselves like using a condom. With these types of programs, in no time Healthy People 2020 will reach their target of 3.8 percent. Since there are different types of STDs in the world, some diseases have a tremendous amount of cases. Gonorrhea is considered one of the most growing numbers of cases, which leads to the 6th objective, which states decreasing the rate of gonorrhea patients in both males and females. According to the data collected in 2008 by STD Surveillance System and CDC, 279.9 new cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 females, in the 15 to 44 age division, have been reported and 216.5 new cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 males, also in the same age division, have reported of being infected. The target for the next 10 years will, hopefully, be, for females, to reduce it to 251.9 new cases in 100,000 population and 194.8 new cases per 100,000 populations of males.
As stated from earlier, there are 25 different STDs. Another well known STD is syphilis, which is a fatal disease for women and if left untreated can be dangerous to the person. The 7th objective focuses on reducing the transmission of primary and secondary syphilis. In 2008, 1.4 new cases of primary or secondary syphilis per 100,000 females were report. In addition, 7.4 new cases of primary and secondary syphilis per 100,000 males were reported. With such tremendous numbers, especially for male cases, a health promoter may try to see the trends of these patients and try to track them to see what is leading them to engage in risky sexual behavior. Health educators want to reduce the cases of primary and secondary syphilis in females, from 1.4 to 1.3 new cases per 100,000 populations. They educators also want to reduce the case of 7.4 males diagnosed with primary and secondary syphilis per 100,000 males down to their new target which is 6.7 males within a 100,000 male population. One isn’t aware there are other different levels of syphilis; congenital syphilis is a severe type of syphilis which can be life-threatening for infants, that’s why the 8th objective specifically focuses on reducing congenital syphilis in like births. As of 2008, 10.7 new cases of congenital syphilis per 100,000 live births have been reported. Now to reduce the harm done to fetal development or at birth, their target is now reduced to 9.6 new cases per 100,000 live births.
With 10 objectives wrapping the idea of promoting preventions for sexually transmitted diseases, the 9th objective places the spotlight on human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is not recognized as a disease but a sexually transmitted infection thus making it a different type of virus infection compared to HIV and herpes. Luckily, HPV vaccines are available and tremendously promoted to all people who are sexually active. Even children, around the age of middle school to 18 years and older, are urged to get the vaccine because HPV is so common. What Healthy People 2020 want is to reduce the number of females with HPV at an early age so they don’t have to worry about it when they are sexually active. Though this objective is still in the developmental stage, there has been improvement that has been shown in the communities. For example, Health Professionals have successfully enforced schools to report to students from the ages 11 to 18 to get their HPV vaccine. If the vaccine is not taken, the school will remind the student until they have received the vaccine. The fact that schools are pushing the HPV vaccine to young students, male or female, can help prevent and reduce cases of HPV in the future. In addition, with Medicaid and insurance companies also willing to pay for the shot is a boost for those who can’t afford it to receive the vaccine making it accessible and available.
The 10th objective is targeting young adults who have tested positive for herpes simplex virus type 2. Herpes is a virus that comes back and is easy passed on to a partner sexually that’s why with the proper protection and knowledge can help defend a person from contracting such disease. At the moment 10.5 percent of young adults, male or female, have tested positive for type 2 herpes. In the near future, the goal is it to be reduced from 10.5 percent to 9.5 percent.
With so much objectives and goals, Health Professionals try to make interventions and helpful resources available to those who seek to change. On the Healthy People 2020 website, they have posted 9 different types of resources where people who are infected with the disease or virus can go to these many websites to seek treatment. Specifically focusing on all fields of STDs, CDC has formed a set of guideline for the treatments of a person who are diagnosed or at risk for STDs. What makes this resource stand out from the other resources is that the guidelines are an umbrella over all the STDs and how to prevent them before any sexual activity or after contracting it. The other components that contribute to the list of guidelines range from STDs of various types to breaking it down to special populations and the effects it would have on the person. With these guidelines, other Health Educators may use these as a reference when working with an infected population so they can have more of a more general cover for each STD that is being stated. The other resources are helpful as well but some of the sites focus on certain STDs, like Chlamydia and HPV.
In this kind of situation, health educators would ask a group of STD infected participates to come and try to part take in a research. Through collecting data relating to the health of the participant, the process of analyzing their behaviors begins so the educator will learn and see what the best way to approach the situation is. After gathering the information of the STD case group, a plan would be constructed to fit the population. For example, say this is a group of females aged 16 to 24, who are not aware if they have been infected or not. So this group would have a workshop within a clinic that has been paid because all these women have Medicaid to pay for their expenses. In this workshop, the process would begin stating the sexual reproduction system and the proper use of contraceptives. Then the explanation of importance of protecting one’s self and why it’s beneficial to get tested every 6 months whether or not the person has engaged in sexual activity. After that, the women would asked to be tested, and if tested positive, would be given counseling on seeking further treatment for their better wellness. Being said, that was all the planning for ways to approach the scenario. Actually implementing the plan in to the population can take from 6 months to more than a year, but when it is implemented the tracking of these studies must be closely watched to see any progression. During this process, evaluation and analyzing data is very concise because other health educators will identify whether this plan is beneficial to be placed out on a larger population. If all works out, the group will follow a plan that will help them be smarter about protecting themselves during sex and preventing any future diseases. But always keep in mind, this process is long and can take a while to achieve but not impossible.
2010 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance. (2011, November 17). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats10/trends.htm
Cottrell, R., Girvan, J., & McKenzie, J. (2009). Principles and Foundations of Health Promotion & Education (5 ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings Publishing .
Goldenring, J. (2011, December 1). Congenital syphilis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. U.S National Library of Medicine. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001344.htm
Human Papillomavirus (HPV). (2014, March 20). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm
It’s Your Sex Life. (n.d.). I Where music artists and celebrities meet to spread the word about making smart sexual health decisions. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. (n.d.). Prevention. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/pelvicinflammatorydisease/understanding/Pages/prevention.aspx
Sexually Transmitted Diseases. (n.d.). – Healthy People. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicId=37
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). (2013, October 30). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/StD/infertility/default.htm