In the 1960s, America entered into an era commonly referred to as the Sexual Revolution. Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, counter culture movements and medically prescribed contraceptives ushered in a decisive split with the preceding values that prescribed confinement of sexual pleasure within the suburban walls of heterosexual marriage (Zinner, 1985). When the 1980s arrived, the sexual revolution came to a halt as the knowledge of an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases exploded and the sexual counter-revolution began (McAnulty & Burnette, 2001). Sexually transmitted diseases have become a health problem that affects every sexually active person today. A sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infections are infections that can be spread by having sex during which bodily fluids are exchanged with another person who is infected (McIlhaney, 1990). A person infected with a sexually transmitted disease may suffer from serious complications such as infertility, chronic pain, and possibly death (EngenderHealth, 2003). .
Understanding the how sexually transmitted diseases are spread, what their symptoms are, and how they can be treated is the first step toward prevention. There are two types of sexually transmitted infections, curable and incurable. Curable diseases include syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, which can be cured with antibiotics. Hepatitis B, genital herpes, and AIDS are incurable diseases caused by viruses (EngenderHealth, 2003). With approximately 15.3 million Americans acquiring a sexually transmitted infection per year, the spread of these infections is considered to be an epidemic by some researchers (McAnulty & Burnette). Sadly, over two thirds of Americans that are infected each year are under the age of twenty-five (ASHA, 2001). The best way to prevent becoming infected with a sexually transmitted disease is to abstain from sexual contact with others (EngenderHealth, 2003).