22 | MAR | 2019
STIs on the rise among Mexican teens
“Times have changed. Now, it is not uncommon for 24-year-old women to have had 50 or more sexual partners at their age," said the gynecologist Gerardo Martínez Pérez - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

STIs on the rise among Mexican teens

15/02/2019
18:34
Claudia González
Mexico City
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35% of patients with syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes, yeast infections, and HIV fall in the age range of 12 to 17

Teenagers in Mexico seem to have lost their fear of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), according to the director of the Epidemiological Surveillance and Disease Control Center and the head of the HIV/AIDS/STI Department at the Health Institute of the State of Mexico (ISEM).

To make things worse, some have opted for anal sex as a contraceptive method which, moreover, allows them to cheat on their partners while avoiding pregnancy, though it poses significant health risks. They tend to give little importance to diseases and often resort to self-medication.

“Times have changed. Now, it is not uncommon for 24-year-old girls to have had 50 or more sexual partners at their age. Many women start having sex as young as 12 years old,” claimed the gynecologist Gerardo Martínez Pérez.

The director of the Epidemiological Surveillance and Disease Control Center, Víctor Torres Meza, pointed out that teenagers now prefer anal sex as a contraceptive method. It is also the case with married women cheating on their husbands or who simply want to avoid pregnancy at all costs. Anal sex went from being a practice that was almost exclusive of homosexual intercourse to an alternative for women who want to stay a virgin until marriage, according to STI patients surveyed.

Teenagers now prefer having anal sex instead of using condoms or birth control pills. However, very few are aware of the consequences of unsafe sexual relations, commented Martínez Pérez.

This form of sexual intercourse has become so common that sex shops now offer numerous toys and lubricants for this purpose, which have become the most popular products in stock. “However, most customers have no idea how to use some of the products and can even end up badly hurt in some cases,” stated Carmen López, manager of the Punto G sex shop in Toluca.

Misinformation has caused a spike in STI cases and statistics have shown that 35% of patients with syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes, yeast infections, and even symptomless infections such as HIV fall in the age range of 12 to 17. In 2018 alone, a total of 111,697 people were treated for venereal diseases in the State of Mexico, Torres explained.

The high price of inexperience

Young people often start their sex lives as an act of independence, though many fall victim to peer pressure in school and social media, stated the gynecologist Sergio Gerardo Martínez Pérez.

Many young women arrive at the hospital with severe injuries to their rectum because they do not use proper methods to engage in anal sex. In the State of Mexico, there is an average of 137 births a day to mothers under the age of 19, according to the state’s Health Minister, Gabriel O’Shea.

As of 2019, six cases of acquired syphilis have already been reported in the state, as well as nine cases of gonococcal infection, 483 cases of trichomoniasis, 15 cases of genital herpes, 1,042 cases of candidiasis (yeast infection), 5,585 cases of vulvovaginitis, and 136 new cases of asymptomatic HIV infection.
 

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