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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

Not Music To My Ears

By December 19, 2012

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According to an article in the November issue of the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, for the past 5 years, an Australian research group has been hitting a major music festival to survey the young people who attend about their knowledge of STDs, their testing habits, and their risk behaviors. Although I envy the researchers their choice of survey location, as I think it would be far more fun to do surveys at a music festival than in a hospital, I'm slightly depressed about their results. Although between the years of 2006 and 2011, participants' knowledge about things like the relationship between STDs and infertility and the problem of asymptomatic STDs went up, so did some of their risk factors. Over time, fewer young people had regular sexual partners, more of them had casual sex, and consistent use of condoms during those casual sex encounters actually went down. Still, there was some good news. The proportion who got tested for STDs also went up, so at least there's a possibility that all those people having unsafe casual sex are slightly more likely to know if their risky behaviors go wrong.

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