April is STI awareness month, and a recent survey study shows men have less awareness about STI (sexually transmitted infection) than women, and they also seemed clueless about safe sex practices.
The survey reached out to close to 800 youth across Tier 1 & 2 cities of the country, and the results were astounding. According to the survey, nearly 100% of the audience have heard of or were aware of STIs, but only 62% of women have gotten tested before, while only 38% of men have gotten tested at least once. Furthermore, very few (say 5%) women get tested regularly.
Surprisingly, 36% of the respondents have never gotten tested for STI, even though they have an active sexual life. In addition, nearly 21% of the respondents were at high risk of STI due to their lifestyle and ignorance towards regular health and STI check-ups.
Considering HPV (Human papillomavirus infection), over 60% of the respondent admitted to having HPV infection but alarmingly, 82% of people have not taken an HPV vaccine ever to date. Most respondents were unaware of HPV and responded to it as a milder version of HIV.
STIs or HPV are primarily spread through sexual activity, yet over 34% of the respondents admitted that they do not always practice safe sex, while 12% were even clueless about the best safe sex practices. Among the more aware individuals, 35% of men claimed they always practiced safe sex, while the rest confessed to occasions where they might not have been responsible enough. Among women, 65% of respondents claimed that they always practiced safe sex, and usually, they are forced to compromise hygienic or safe practices due to the instance of their male partner.
So, in a nutshell, the findings indicate that men tend to have a higher risk of STIs but are less likely to get tested and, at the same time, less likely to practice safe sex. Hence, the risk of STI spreading among men is higher than among women.
The survey was powered by Manzuri, a sex-tech start-up that aims to democratize pleasure and destigmatize sex in India. In addition, they partnered with an NGO to understand and break the barriers that prevented people from testing and treating for STIs. Therefore, collaborating with the NGO helped emphasize the seriousness of the topic, and it greatly empowered individuals to make informed and thoughtful decisions about their sexual health.
Manzuri will also provide free STI test kits during STI Awareness Month as part of the STI awareness campaign. They have also announced to dedicate 2% of their monthly revenue to a non-profit organization dedicated to sex education and removing the shame and stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in India. Unfortunately, the situation seems grim as there has been a surge of 56.5% in STI cases in India between 2019 and 2021. These figures highlight the urgent need for increased awareness, prevention, and treatment of STIs in India and worldwide.
April, set aside as STI Awareness Month, is an essential reminder of the value of sexual health and the need to remove the shame and stigma associated with STIs. By working together, organizations like Manzuri Wellness are helping to create a more informed and empowered community.