The Center for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday urged young people to pay more attention to the danger of contracting venereal diseases through unprotected sex, because the summer vacation marks a high-risk period for the spread of sexually contracted illnesses.
The CDC said about 20 percent of syphilis or gonorrhoea infections among people between 15 and 24 years of age happened in summertime.
In addition to syphilis or gonorrhoea, unsafe sexual behavior also carries the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, the center said, advising young people to be cautious in making friends with people through the Internet and to take precautionary measures for self-protection.
According to the CDC, there were 551 cases of syphilis and 738 cases of gonorrhoea among people aged between 15 and 24 last year, of which 112 cases (about 20 percent) of syphilis and 142 cases (about 19 percent) of gonorrhoea were reported in July and August.
The CDC said it received 4,376 reports of people aged between 15 and 24 infected with HIV/AIDS before June this year and 3,711 cases (about 85 percent) were found to have been transmitted through unsafe sexual behavior, adding that the latest statistics on the virus also revealed a trend of increased infections among young people.
The CDC cited research by professor Lin Hui-sheng (林惠生) Chung at Shan Medical University School of Public Health which found between 40 and 50 percent of teenagers in senior-high school, vocational school and five-year junior college made friends with people of the other sex through the Internet.
Citing another survey by National Cheng-kung University associate professor of nursing Ko Nai-ying (柯乃熒), the CDC said that among gay men, 71 percent have searched for a sexual partner through the Internet.
While the incubation periods of syphilis and gonorrhoea are short — about two or three days for syphilis and three weeks for gonorrhoea with clear symptoms allowing early diagnosis, the incubation period for HIV/AIDS can stretch from six months to five years, or even as long as 10 years, which makes it more difficult to discover at an early stage without HIV screening, the CDC said.
The CDC urged parents to spend more time and effort to communicate with their teenage children about making friends and practicing safe sex, such as avoiding sex parties and sexual activity with people without knowing their personal sexual history, using condoms during sexual intercourse and going to the doctor for HIV/AIDS screening three months after unsafe sex or when feeling any discomfort.