Sociologists loosely classify people born between 1980 and 2000 as millennials or otherwise, a member of Generation Y. This implies that they succeeded those who belong to Generation X or the Baby Boomers.
In their 1991 book, Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, Neil Howe and William Strauss proposed a theory that focused on generations and the recurrence of happenings which took place in the past, in a present generation. Their book fostered the idea that people in a given age group most likely, share a defined set of beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors because they belong to the same period in history.
Millennials are children of parents from Generation X (those presumably born between 1946 and 1964). In 2012, statistics showed that they were about 80 million-strong in the US alone.
These Generation Y members are unique, just like the generations that preceded them. Generally, they are known to be adventurous and optimistic about their lives and future. They were born in a time when there was an abundance of opportunities to attain postsecondary education, have easy access to technology, and get more achievements – if only able to dream hard. Those opportunities were not as plenteous for generations before them.
Many researchers and social scientists have suggested that millennials, having been raised by their Generation X parents, were given those opportunities to be able to escape the hardship their parents faced. They were encouraged to be more assertive, confident that they can change their world. In fact, millennials have been termed narcissistic.
The adventurous tendency in millennials has given rise to their desires to experiment on acts that were relatively alien to their parents. Those include common casual sex and binge drinking. It is in the times of millennials that the most traveling has occurred, coupled with a much wider acceptance of same-sex relationships.
The perception of time as being limited has made many millennials impatient. They tend to keep moving, refusing to be held back by bureaucratic processes and conventional protocols. Unlike their parents, they desire speed and nothing short of that.
Consequently, the era of casual sex involving young adults has seen the rate of sexually transmitted diseases skyrocket. More so, the fearlessness developed toward HIV/AIDS due to better palliative care has led millennials to make condom use an option during casual sex.
Men who have sex with men are believed to make up a larger group of non-condom users. In addition to the symptomless nature of some STDs, there is an uninhibited spread from one person to another, across borders and continents owing to much traveling and rampant use of mobile technology.
Lately, there has been an upsurge in the number of dating sites, many dedicated to casual sexual relationships with persons across the nation and globe. The passionate vibe in connections most often lead to one night stands with these persons whose sexual histories are unknown to their partners. As such, sexually transmitted diseases prevalent in some parts of the world made their ways to areas where there was never such cases in time past (HIV exported from Africa to Australia, for example). This is an unfortunate privilege millennials’ parents did not have.
Millennials have been subjects of concern to public health officials. Health records and statistics revealed that Generation Y members do not use screening services made available for STDs. Consumption of alcohol, up to the point of stupor, has exposed many of them to the careless transmission of STDs.
The use of contraceptives among young women has decreased the use of condoms for sex (they avoid getting pregnant by one means but expose themselves to STDs by several other means at the same time). A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that teenagers who used long-acting reversible contraceptives such as intrauterine devices were 60% less likely to use a condom than their counterparts who use oral contraceptives.
Millennials’ assertiveness demand that they deserve to be well-informed on sensitive matters. Issues of sexually transmitted diseases projected through sex education are not taken much seriously by these ones. As Susan Wysocki, a sexual health expert with the American Sexual Health Association Board, opined, young people often will think that if there is an epidemic of STDs that is very important to be known, it should be mentioned by their healthcare providers.
As with the purpose of this article, enlightenment on STDs and their dire consequences can help to minimize their spread, even in the midst of differences in generational traits. Though millennials are more predisposed to contracting STDs than their parents, older folks need also be mindful that STDs are not generation-discriminatory. Every hand must be on deck against its prevalence.