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Young People Taking Greater Care

Sexual health in the youth

The times have changed. Things are little like they used to be under a hundred years ago. Our culture is different and behaviours are not the same as before. This is neither good nor bad, it's just the natural mutation of society. 

As we are all part of society, when society changes, everything else does. Institutions, organizations and governments need to adapt to these modifications in order to function properly, according to their goals of existence. The health system, of course, is no exception. Indeed, as health is one of the basic human needs, it should always be covered by service providers.

Speaking of basic human needs, perhaps the greatest behavioral change that has been taking place in these last decades that regards public health is sex. Especially in young people, who have been born under the new model, greater levels of sexual freedom and interchange are usual.

An immediate consequence of this new model where it is more usual to have several sexual partners, simultaneously or in a certain period of time, is the higher transmission rate of sexually transmited infections (STIs). In older times, when people were more likely to have only one sexual partner, it was less probable for them to catch such an infection, because each one of them would only have sex with the other, so there was no external element that would bring the disease in.

People under the age of 25 are in general at higher risk of catching an STI than the ones above that age. For this reason, public health system is currently focusing on this age range with several campaigns and studies that aim to comprehend their sexual behaviour in order to help fighting the spread of STIs.

Young people are taking more care of their sexual health

The health programmes mentioned above have contributed to educate young people about sexual diseases and how to have safe sex. The level of awareness is increasing as well as the number of people who go to genitourinary clinics to get tests for STIs. This is especially important, given that some of them, even if they are harmful, are also asymptomatic. In other words, people could have a running sexual infection without feeling it. This is why people who are at risk of having an STI (people who have had unprotected sex and/or recently changed sexual partners) should get tested even if they don't feel anything funny down there. 

Sexual education and STI screenings seem to be related. In a Nursing in Practice article it is noted that a study has been run by Public Health England which showed that people who got a chlamydia test (the most common STI in the United Kingdom) reported to be more likely to have safer sex and also repeat the test in the future.

It is true that these discoveries might not be as absolute as they seem. It is true that people who got a chlamydia screening reported to be more likely to take more care with their sexual health in the future, but it is also true that, on the other way around, people who take more care about their sexual health are more likely to get a chlamydia screening. This is a factor that counts, even if apparently it hasn't been taken in account in this research, at least as far as the article shows. However, being exposed to the weight of sexual health by going to a genitourinary clinic definitely sounds like an encouragement for young people to become more aware of their sexual health and do something for it.

The number one STI in the United Kingdom

Chlamydia is a fungus infection that is transmited from one person to another via sexual contact. According to official chlamydia rates it is the most frequent STI to be found in the United Kingdom. There are public health programmes that focus on giving chlamydia information to people, especially people under the age of 25. The risk of chlamydia is increased by unprotected sex and having several sexual partners.

The best way to prevent chlamydia is to use a condom from the very beginning of sexual contact, whatever its nature is. Good news is that a single dose of antibiotics can get rid of the infection, and bad news is that, unless you get tested, you are not likely to discover that you have the infection in the first place. Concur to public health centers or private centers such as The GUM Clinic to get a screening. The public system will offer tests for free, and private services will be faster and more efficient.