It’s no secret that as the years go by teens and young adults are becoming more and more sexually active at a younger age. Sex has become just a normal everyday occurrence whether they see it on social media, television or hear about it in school from their friends. Sometimes they don’t realize the consequences of having sex, especially when it comes to getting Sexually Transmitted Diseases. A lot of people have the idea that if they use a condom everything will be ok but that’s not the case. Would you believe that condoms only protect 50% against Chlamydia and Gonorrhea?
At Life’s Choices we give free tests for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea because they are two of the most common Sexually Transmitted Infections. Sexually Transmitted Infections are in the same family as STDs, the only difference is you can get rid of STIs completely and STDs you can only treat the symptoms but you’ll have the disease in your body the rest of your life. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the rate for Chlamydia right here in Berks County is at a higher rate compared to Pennsylvania as a whole. Although Gonorrhea is at a lower rate than Pennsylvania overall, it’s still a problem. Most cases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are found in people ages 15-24. In Berks County more females are infected then males for both infections. However, the rate of infected females with Chlamydia not only beats out the males but also the average rate in Pennsylvania. Adolescents make up 27% of the sexually active population in the U.S. but they consume about 50% of the STD rate. That’s almost 10 million STDs each year!
How can we change this? Of course the only way to remain risk-free is to stay abstinent. It may seem like an impossible task for some, but trust me…it’s possible! If you remain abstinent in your relationship, I think you’ll find that your partnership will grow and maybe turn into something that you never would expect. You’ll be able to rely on more than a physical connection. Remember intimacy doesn’t only mean sex. You can still be intimate with your boyfriend or girlfriend in other ways. For example, having conversations about God, life, the goals you want to achieve, your family, things you experienced in your childhood, etc. These are all conversations that can bring you closer together, allowing you to really get to know each other on a deeper level rather than a sexual one.
I had a client come in once and we asked her if she had any regrets entering into her sexual relationships. Her response was an eye opening one. She said, “I definitely regret entering into some of my sexual relationships. I feel like if I never would’ve started, it wouldn’t be issue for me now.” A lot of these young people feel like they can’t stop or they might as well do it because their partner expects them to have sex based on their past.
Speaking as someone who just stepped out of the 15-24 age range, I know struggles and temptation are a real thing. You have to be strong and you absolutely have to set boundaries. You must be sure that your boyfriend or girlfriend is on the same page as you. If it’s something they can’t agree with, as hard as it may be, you need to let them go. You need to learn the power of the word “no.” My prayer is that all the clients that come into Life’s Choices will learn their value, show themselves respect, know that God loves them and know that there are people in their community that care for them too.