STD Questionnaire Focused on the High Risk Age Group
As a result of doing constant research on various STDs and writing about them, I have found consistent data that over half of reported STDs are from those ranging from 15 to 24 years of age. I have a few theories as to why this may be true but I decided to go straight to the source for answers. I made up a questionnaire addressing my main questions and found a volunteer to fill it out so I, as well as you the reader, can get an inside look on just why there is such an increase in infections and disease in the younger demographic.
Q: How old are you?
A: I am 21 years old.
Q: How many sex partners have you had?
A: I have had nine partners, which is way more than I would like to admit.
Q: Describe types of birth control or contraceptives you have used in the past.
A: I have used birth control pills. I am currently taking Desogen. I have also used the “pull-out” method, condoms, and oral sex. My main contraceptive choice is the pill not only to prevent pregnancy but to help regulate my period.
Q: Do you use protection during intercourse?
A: I have used condoms as protection during intercourse.
Q: If yes to the above question, do you use it every time?
A: I do not use condoms every time, even though I know I should.
Q: Please explain briefly the possible reason for not using protection (condom not available, monogamous relationship w/ birth control, etc.). If you answered you always did, try to explain why others your age may not use protection.
A: There have been times I haven’t used condoms because my partner and I did not have them or because it simply doesn’t feel as good. Taking the extra 5 seconds sometime seemed to long and that it would ruin the fore-play, and trust me it would happen! My ex and I used condoms primarily as a trust issue. If we thought the other one was sleeping with someone else, we used condoms as almost a punishment. I feel like we normally didn’t have them, and if we were sleeping with someone else we made that partner wear the condom.
Q: Have you ever contracted a sexually transmitted disease?
A: Yes I have contracted a STD.
Q: If yes to the above question, which STD/STI did you have?
A: I have had chlamydia multiple times. I was very lucky to have a curable STD, but as you can see I didn’t learn much by the word MULTIPLE. After the first time of finding out I had an STD, I felt dirty, betrayed, never wanted to have sex again, and thought people looked at me and knew I had an STD. I had no symptoms and was just going in for my annual checkup. At this time, I found out that my boyfriend was cheating on me for sure and that my chances of having children was getting less and less because of my poor decisions.
Q: In addition to the above question, did you make your sexual partner(s) aware of the disease?
A: Yes, I did make my sexual partner aware along with the other women he was sleeping with. The first time I was terrified and felt guilty because I was the one who found out. I had only had one other partner at the time so I hoped it was not my fault and that I had not been the one to give him an STD. The second time I received it from the same guy and then was a bit nastier about the situation, but it was obviously much easier to talk to him about the situation. It was much easier to blame him after the second time, even though I was partly to blame. When I moved on with someone else and received the familiar unwanted gift for the third time, the fear of him blaming me or being upset was back. STDs can be embarrassing and scary, but you need to take care of them so you don’t have worse complications in the long run.
Q: After contracting a STD, did you make sure to use protection in future encounters?
A: After contracting the disease for the first time, I did use condoms for the next two weeks to a month, and then went back to my old habits of using them every now and again. Once things got back to normal, my partner and I seemed to forget about our recent dose of antibiotics and stopped using condoms.
Q: In recent STD statistics, 15-24 years olds account for more than half of reported cases. Since you are within this age range, what are your thoughts on the reason for this?
A: I can say from experience some of the main reasons are that we are careless, undereducated, have an invincibility complex, and like myself have multiple partners.
Q: How educated are you when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases?
A: I had a class in high school which taught me the basics I needed to know. We didn’t have it until my senior year, so for the most part the majority of my classmates had already been having sex. It was informative but didn’t share the future impact. It was more about pregnancy prevention than about STD prevention. Currently, I have some knowledge on the matter but not enough.
Q: Do you get annual women’s checkups?
A: Yes I get annual checkups.
Q: Do you know the importance of having annual screenings?
A: Out of all honesty, I really do not. I only go if I am having a problem, if it is time for my yearly appointment, or if I am afraid that I am having similar symptoms that I have experienced before. I tend to go more out of fear of having something and not to just get the recommended yearly examination like most people.
After reading these responses I realized that some of my presumptions were true and yet others were slightly off track. This 21 year old female has in fact been infected with a sexually transmitted disease and has experienced all the embarrassment and additional consequences that are associated with contracting an STD. I want to give a special thanks to my volunteer who helped make this entry possible. I hope that her personal experience can help influence many other young people reading to make good choices, especially when it comes to sex. The best thing to do is to constantly educate yourself on everything involving sex and to ALWAYS use protection. It might not be convenient, spontaneous, or romantic but it will prevent you from getting something that may stay with you forever and could change your life drastically. Lastly, even if you use protection, get tested annually because no method is 100% effective.