Even though the HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer, only 20% of girls are getting all three shots. Maybe it’s time to highlight how it not only prevents cancer, but also that it prevents other medical complications.
In this week’s sexual health round up: new research finds that only 38 percent of girls who start the HPV vaccine get all three shots; a new study finds that while the specific gene therapy tried did not impact HIV, the concept still shows promise; and a six-year-old is suspended from a Colorado elementary school for sexual harassment.
Thirty years of public health science clearly demonstrates that providing young people with information about the health benefits of both abstinence and contraception and condoms, does not cause young people to initiate sex earlier or have sex more often. Abstinence-only-until marriage programs leave young people unprepared. They are unethical.
The Centers for Disease Control recently established four priorities for STD prevention: Protecting the future health of adolescents and young people; protecting men who have sex with men; raising awareness about multi-drug resistant gonorrhea; and eliminating congenital syphilis.
Sexually transmitted infections cost the U.S. health care system $17 billion every year — and that number doesn’t even take into account the amount STDs cost to individuals in short-term and long-term consequences. We need more funding to prevent and treat these infections.
Have you ever wondered how epidemics are controlled? Well, you can thank your local DIS for that.
It is easy to overlook seniors when we see the dire numbers around STIs and teens, yet we remain at risk for sexually transmitted infections as we age.
Coming from the public health perspective, it isn’t a fun job to notify someone about their exposure to an STD, but it is fulfilling to know that you have helped keep someone healthy. So the next time the phone rings, keep in mind, it may not be the call you want, but it may be the call you get and it will help protect you.
Sometimes I wonder if we are not missing the larger picture. Perhaps instead of talking about preventing STDs and treating an illness, maybe we could talk in terms of promoting sexual health.
Sexual education and empowerment leads not only to responsible and respectful sexual behaviors and attitudes but also an increased access to effective preventative, screening, treatment, and support services that promote physical and sexual well-being. But we need integrated approaches and more connection to achieve our goals.