The World Health Organization defines sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as infections that are mainly passed through person to person sexual contact (World Health Organization [WHO], 2012). Some of the more common infections include syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and genital herpes (World Health Organization [WHO], 2012). Every year about 19 million new STI cases are reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2011). Such high incidence rates cause the U.S health care system 17 billion dollars a year (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2011). Beyond having increased costs STIs also have a huge social impact on society.
Out of the 19 million new STI cases estimated by CDC…show more content… Its dramatic associations like those that have forced thousands of Americans into secrecy about their sexual health status, or have them too afraid to go get tested out of fear of being branded.
Nancy Krieger defines gender as cultural agreements, social constructs, behaviors, roles, and relations that occur between men and women (Krieger, 2003). Gender is an important social determinant because the social constructs of gender give a good snapshot of what we value in today’s society. In society we expect men to be the “bread-winners” in the relationship because men are viewed as the more superior gender, and in the United States money is valued therefore the bread-winner is too.
Gender is a social determinant that affects the STI problem in the United States because of the nature of how STIs are commonly spread. Socially, women are taught to be submissive to be to their male counterparts; this submissive behavior often leaves women feeling voiceless when it comes to their sexual decisions in relationships. Men, on the other hand, are socially taught that they have to take control in the relationship; this kind of mindset leaves men feeling as if they are in control of all of the decisions in relationships which include the sexual decisions also. Women feeling helpless and men feeling powerful cause disconnects and unsafe sexual situations that can lead to the spread of STIs. Gender roles also make men feel like they have to make babies, and make women