Cases of STD in the US have been on the rise for since 2010. Cases of chlamydia in the US stood at 1.4 million in 2014. This number was 2.5 times higher than it was in 1994. Cases of gonorrhea stood at 350,000 a 10 percent increase since 2010.
Studies have shown that this is because sex ed programs are no longer helping educate millennials about STD. Millennials are also skipping STD testing now more than ever. Even worse is the fact that these STDs are quickly becoming resistant to antibiotics, a big threat to global health.
Effectiveness of Sex Education
A recent study published in BMJ Open found that a lot of students globally feel that sex education programs are not helpful at all as most students are already having sex already. The study also found that teachers were often embarrassed when conducting the classes. They also observed that students were hesitant to ask questions because they feared they’d look slutty or inexperienced.
Pandora Pound, Rebecca Langford and Rona Campbell from the School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK conducted the study with the aim to find out whether current sex and relationship education (SRE) provision meets millennial’s needs.
The researchers involved eligible studies the US, Australia, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Brazil, Japan, and Iran in their study. The students were aged between 4-19 years and in full-time education. They also had young adults aged 19 or less and not necessarily in full-time education as well as adults 25 years and below who recalled their school-based SRE experiences.
The study found that even though sex potentially an embarrassing topic, schools haven’t quite acknowledged this and continue to teach SRE just like it’s any other subject like math. The young people felt during SRE, with young men reporting that they felt the need to hide their sexual ignorance. The women on their part felt that they risked being sexual harassed if they participated in the discussions during the classes.
The researchers observed that schools had difficulty accepting that some students are sexually active, making the classes they offer out of touch with the students’ lives. The students also reported that they found SRE to be negative, heterosexist, and gendered. They also felt it was inappropriate for their own teachers to teach SRE due to conflict of interests, lack of anonymity, and embarrassment. They also felt that their teachers lacked proper training in delivering SRE.
Fear of Judgement and Mistrust Keeping Young People away from STD Clinics
With the results of this study in mind, Elite Daily conducted a survey to find out whether millennials are taking care of their sexual health. The study involved 240 millennials. The survey found that 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women have never gone for an STD testing. Another 14 percent of men and 7 percent of women said that they couldn’t remember the last time they had a test.
The study also found that millennials have certain fears that could be keeping them away from getting tested. Judgment by doctors and being mistrusted by partners are some of the fears that the millennials raised.
Another reason for the lack of testing that came up during the survey is the lack of STD symptoms thus the assumption that they are fine. They said that they often Google their symptoms instead of scheduling a doc appointment or visiting an STD clinic.
The numbers and the trends are quite scary because the more the millennials skip annual check-ups the more the STD numbers will continue to rise globally. It’s also important that school take a different approach in the way they deliver SRE to encourage young people to participate and facilitate more awareness about their sexual health.