sexually transmitted diseases and prevention
Every day around the world, sexually transmitted infections are acquired, most of which remain asymptomatic. Transmission routes of these infections are predominantly through sexual contact, including oral, anal, and vaginal sex. It can also be transmitted through breastfeeding, childbirth, and mother-to-child pregnancy. 50% of all the new cases of STIs are young people aged 15 to 20 years despite their minimal sexual experiences (Weinstock et al., 2021). Most high school students engage in sexual intercourse, which risks contracting STDs. Reduction in STDs incidences is dependent on the knowledge they possess about the infections, causes, and prevention.
A primary goal of Ridgeview High School is to provide services and programs that prepare all students for success in the workplace and post-secondary institutions once they graduate from high school. Its purpose is to prepare students for a lifetime of learning and service to the community. Educating children to be responsible learners capable of problem-solving, critical thinking, and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) might be advantageous if they are made aware of the implications early on, particularly in high school. When students participate in peer education, the focus is on their knowledge, talents, and attitudes linked to preventing unwanted pregnancy, HIV, and other health issues. It also aims to establish a positive school climate that encourages students to make healthy choices.
Health promotion is effective if the community feels responsible for their health. Due to the rising infections among adolescents, increasing awareness of STIs and prevention measures is necessary. Health education will empower them to make appropriate decisions and protect themselves. As a technique of directing and altering the behavior of younger peers, the peer educators model promotes positive attitudes and emphasizes the advantages of healthy habits while also providing opportunities for practicing skills to encourage behavioral change (Layzer et al., 2014). Helps young people realize their sensitivity to negative health outcomes, including unwanted pregnancy, while also providing specific risk-reduction techniques they may employ to avoid those results.
The community of Ridgeview high is involved in the project. Seeking permission is mandatory before conducting a health promotion in a social institution. They have to be aware of the project and its implications. This particular project aimed at educating the students about sexually transmitted infections and preventive measures. Providing data on the increasing incidences of STIs and the catastrophic effects on the lives of the affected will enable them to permit the project to occur. Some individuals may be against sex education because they don’t want changes to occur; however, this can be overcome by involving them in the health promotion exercise.
STIs have direct and indirect effects on individuals’ sexual and reproductive health. Untreated STIs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, postpartum endometriosis, infertility, and chronic abdominal pain in women; abortion, intrauterine death, and premature delivery in men; neonatal and infant infections and blindness in women; urethral strictures and epididymitis in men. The global burden of cervical cancer and most cancers are attributed to human papillomavirus, which is sexually transmitted. They are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide (Weinstock et al., 2021). The mental health of individuals is also affected because some conditions are long-term and require medications throughout life. Some individuals never come to terms with that hence increasing depression cases.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis remain the most commonly reported STIs, with the incidences reported being high. Nearly two-thirds of chlamydia and half of gonorrhea cases reported were in people aged 15 to 24. In 2020, WHO recorded 374 million new chlamydia (129 million), gonorrhea (82 million), syphilis (7.1 million), and trichomoniasis infections (156 million). In 2016, around 490 million people had genital HSV (herpes), and 300 million women had HPV (the leading cause of cervical cancer). Globally, 296 million people have chronic hepatitis B. All these contribute significantly to the healthcare system’s burden (Silverberg et al., 2022). Medications are expensive, and some individuals cannot afford to pay for the healthcare services they need. In Kern County, the most common STIs are Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
STIs incidences can be prevented to improve the health outcomes of individuals. Behavioral changes interventions that decrease the incidences include; promoting condoms, abstinence, avoiding multiple partners, and not abusing drugs such as alcohol. Drug abuse leads individuals to make irresponsible choices and endanger their health, making them susceptible to contracting infections (Chesson et al., 2017). They are also at risk of being taken advantage of by other people. There are both female and male condoms that individuals should utilize depending on their preferences. Also, male circumcision is effective against HSV-2 HPV in males, while it has a protective effect against trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis in female partners.
Encouraging individuals to be tested regularly, especially sexually active, promotes early diagnosis and treatment. HPV vaccine to prevent diseases caused by the virus. Reduction in cervical cancer and other cancers has been attributed to the HPV vaccination available to adolescents and young adults who did not receive the vaccine when infants. Hepatitis A and B can also be prevented by vaccination (Chesson et al., 2017). HIV/AIDS can currently be prevented using pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis. This therapy is only effective if the individual is not infected with the virus.
At Ridgeview high, most students reported not communicating with their partners about safe sex because they felt uncomfortable with the conversation. I utilized lectures, demonstrations, and explanation teaching methods to educate the students on prevention strategies against STDs. Abstinence effectively prevents all STIs because the individual will not contract infections without any sexual contact. Condoms are a barrier method that is effective when you use them consistently and properly. The students were encouraged to get tested for any STDs with their partners before engaging in sexual practices (Layzer et al., 2014). Emphasis was placed on communicating with their partners because health is a personal responsibility. Educational and promotional materials should be made available.
STDs are huge public health and economic concern around the world. As the number of cases among adolescents continues to rise, it is essential to ensure that students are educated on prevention and control measures such as condoms, abstinence, immunization, and regular screening. The implementation of the recommended solutions will necessitate the active participation of community members to reduce the burden of sexually transmitted diseases. It is the responsibility of school authorities to guarantee that students receive sex education to improve and promote their sexual health.
Chesson, H. W., Mayaud, P., & Aral, S. O. (2017). Sexually transmitted infections: impact and cost-effectiveness of prevention. Disease Control Priorities, Major Infectious Diseases, 6.
Layzer, C., Rosapep, L., & Barr, S. (2014). A peer education program: delivering highly reliable sexual health promotion messages in schools. Journal of adolescent health, 54(3), S70-S77.
Silverberg, B., Moyers, A., Hinkle, T., Kessler, R., & Russell, N. G. (2022). 2021 CDC Update: Treatment and Complications of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Venereology, 1(1), 23-46.
Weinstock, H. S., Kreisel, K. M., Spicknall, I. H., Chesson, H. W., & Miller, W. C. (2021). STI Prevalence, Incidence, and Costs in the United States: New Estimates, New Approach. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 48(4), 207.
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