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May 28, 2010

5 STI Risk Factors

At least one in every four Americans will contract and STI at some point in their life.   STI’s are a serious health problem to adults and if they go untreated, they can cause permanent  damage.  Certain factors in your life will determine your risk of contracting an STI, so here are the top 5 STI risk factors –

1. Unprotected Sex – This one is a given, but it is very important.  You’re more likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection if you do not use barrier methods of birth control like condoms.

2. Being Young – People between 18 and 29 are more likely to be infected with an STI than an older person.  Women and men in their 20’s have the highest rates of STI’s out of any age group.  This could be because young women are more susceptible to them.  Their cervix’s aren’t fully developed and they are more likely to experience tearing during intercourse.  Young people in general are less likley to practice safe sex by using condoms, and are more likely to have multiple partners.

3.Alcohol and drug use
–  People who use alcohol and drugs on regular basis may have lowered inhibitions and may be less “picky” about who they choose for a partner.  Those under the influence of alcohol and drugs may be more stubborn about condom use.

4. Having multiple partners – The more partners you have the more likely you are to be exposed to STI’s. Usually people with multiple partners choose partners who have also had multiple partners. This increases the risk of your partner having contracted an STI from a different partner.  Your risk increases even higher if you hire a sexual professional because the truth is they aren’t being paid to enforce safe sex with partners.

5. Relying only on Birth Control Pills – for most sexually active people their main concern is pregnancy.  Lots of couples choose birth control pills as their only contraceptive method.  This is 99% effective against pregnancy, but this does not protect against STI’s.  Once a couple is established in using the pill as their only form of protection, they will become reluctant to use condoms.  This can be because they have gotten used to a sexual routine without condoms, or perhaps because they just don’t like using them.  The safest option is to use birth control pills AND condoms.

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