STIs Among Young Adults Continue To Spike — & Colleges Can No Longer Ignore It

By Ashley Alese Edwards for Refinery 29

Colleges across the country often require students to take classes like Philosophy 101 — the reason being that “philosophy” is seen as essential knowledge young adults need to navigate the “real world” once they graduate.

But, there’s one course you’ll rarely see as a three-credit requirement on a student’s transcript: sex ed. And that oversight is causing problems for young adults that Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle can’t solve.

“I feel like high schools don't ever really teach people what they actually need to know, rather than just preach, ‘Don’t have sex at all,’” Lauren, a 20-year-old senior at Kent State University, told Refinery29. “Young teens in high school aren't mature enough to handle that kind of information, so they probably just disregard it and forget everything they learn. If sex programs were mandatory around freshman year of college, it could probably help with a lot of STI prevention and knowing the facts.”

A recent report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention revealed that certain curable sexually transmitted infections, namely syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, are on the rise among young adults ages 15 to 24. Young women in particular are contracting syphilis at alarming rates, the rate of infection increasing by 36% from 2015 to 2016. If left untreated, syphilis can cause blindness, infertility, and strokes. Additionally, a recent study shows that 1 in 9 American men ages 18 to 69 has the human papilloma virus, better known as HPV. In some cases, HPV can cause genital warts or even cancer.