The way young people feel about sexual relations is very different to how their parents and grandparents used to feel. This is something that has impacted our society due to the consequences suffered by its members, even reaching a “devastating pandemic of young people with STDs that needs to be stopped,” as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In fact, the CDC estimates that every year, around 19 million people are infected by some type of STDs, with almost half of them being young people between 15 and 24 years of age.
On that note, the Douglas County Department of Health has worked on several educational activities, as well as on activities for detecting chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV.
These efforts have even included alliances with different private and public organizations, particularly in the city of Omaha since, according to the latest census data, 93 percent of the Latinos that live in Douglas Country are located in said city.
Speaking on the alarming situation on this issue, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) informed that one out of every two sexually active young people will get an STD before they turn 25 years old, and most won’t even know they have one.
The Douglas County Department of Health mentioned that chlamydia is the #1 STD in Douglas County, followed by gonorrhea. For both, most of the detected cases were found in young people between 15 and 25 years of age.
Educators at PPH emphasized how lowering the level of incidence for these STDs could easily be lowered when you consider that they’re curable diseases and that “all you need to do is take some antibiotics to heal.”
However, there are many factors that contribute in general to the propagation of STDs, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, sexual abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and lack of sustainable housing.
“The best way of preventing any contagion is with abstinence, but if you’re going to have sexual relations, then you should use a condom,” is one of the phrases presented during prevention events.
The goal is for parents to understand that they must talk with their kids about STDs, as it is wrong to assume that they’re too young. According to stats, young people start their sexual life very early, on top of being exposed to promiscuity in media, which distorts what they need to know about sexuality and sexual relations.
But something is not right.
According to the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies, there are over 57,000 Latinos in Douglas County. However, when an event on prevention has taken place to inform the Latino community, attendance numbers have not been quite right, even with the bilingual promotion in local media and at schools. Something is not working when trying to grab young people’s attention.
In fact, those under 20 years of age are the ones most reluctant to participate.
To be able to respond to the Latino STD crisis, there must be better communication between service providers, media, organizations, elected officers, and the community.
Despite all the work done all over the county to deal with the necessities, priorities, and challenges faced by the Latino community on STD issues, these diseases continue to require more effective and continuous actions.
Information is critical in protecting people against STDs, or else these diseases will continue to be transmitted among members of the Latino community.