Military and STDs
The military has an STD problem.
The military has an STD problem. While the military is not immune to the problems that civilians face, sexual contact with someone outside your relationship is common. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are common STDs among young people in the military.
If you think you may have been exposed to an STD, it’s important to get tested as soon as possible. It’s possible for STDs to have no symptoms at all, or for them to be hidden (as in the case of herpes). The only way to know if you have an STD is through a test.
Cheating in the Military
If you’re in a committed relationship and in the military, chances are you or someone close to you has had sexual contact outside of that relationship within the past year. Within the general population, 1 out of every 5 men have extramarital sex (according to data gathered by Dr. Elisabeth Sheff). But more than 20% of active-duty military men and almost half (45%) of active-duty women report they’ve had extramarital sex, according to the National Institute of Health.
There are many reasons for this trend, not least of which is being stationed far away from your significant other or spouse. In fact, half a million people in the U.S. military have been deployed to foreign countries each year since 2006, according to the Department of Defense (DOD).
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are common STDs among young people in the military
When you’re in the military, there are a lot of things to worry about: where to eat lunch, whether or not your favorite pack of gum is on sale at the PX where you’re stationed, and what you’re going to do for the next three hours in between drills. A topic that gets shoved aside a lot is sexually transmitted diseases.
Not all STDs show symptoms, so even if you don’t have any obvious signs of infection, it’s still possible that you’re infected with one. If you have unprotected sex (or protected sex but the condom broke), it’s likely that any STDs were transmitted during intercourse.
Military Bases with High STD Rates
Some of the highest STD rates in the country are centered around military bases. One study conducted by Inner Body Research doesn’t list military bases specifically, but does point out there are high concentrations of STDs where military personnel reside. Some of these areas are:
- Augusta, Georgia (Fort Gordon) – the fifth most STD infected area
- Killeen, Texas (Fort Hood) – was at number six
- Shreveport, Louisiana (Barksdale Air Force Base) – number eight
- Fayetteville, North Carolina (For Bragg) – ninth place
- Columbus, Georgia (Fort Benning) – twelfth place
- Columbia, South Carolina (Fort Jackson) – at the fifteenth place
Young people in the military are more likely to contract STDs than civilians of the same age
Research has shown that military personnel are more likely to contract STDs than civilians of the same age. In fact, military men and women have a 64% chance of contracting an STD from other men and women in their unit. The dating pool is very small, especially when you’re stuck with each other overseas.
That’s pretty scary for young people who are about to join the armed forces: the longer they’re in, the less likely they are to have sex without protection. But, most sexual practices of people become safer as they get older.
HPV infections and genital herpes went down with increased age in the military, but chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis infections increased. This could be attributed to the HPV vaccine being administered amongst military members.
Soldiers are tested for HIV before deployment, but there’s no routine testing for other STDs
At present, the military tests for HIV, but unlike other routine screenings for things such as blood pressure and cholesterol, there is no regular, periodic testing for STDs. If you do contract an STD while deployed or stationed elsewhere in the world, you need to know that you can ask to be tested—and even if it’s inconvenient or embarrassing, you should ask to be tested anyway. Early detection of STDs greatly reduces health risks down the line; on top of that, it also makes it easier to treat infections before they escalate into something more serious.
We provide private military std testing at one of our discreet labs, so no one in your unit has to find out. Not even your superiors.
If HIV is contracted from a military related duty, then the service member is allowed to stay in the military. The military will not let anyone join who is already infected with the virus. In the past, HIV-infected service members were dismissed from their military jobs, but now with many effective treatment options, HIV-infected service members are allowed to stay employed.
Men and women who serve our country deserve access to exceptional care
The military healthcare system is designed to treat illness and injury that is directly related to service. It also provides basic preventative care, like check-ups and screening for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
The military healthcare system is excellent at treating these conditions. It’s also designed to handle STDs, but the diagnosis and treatment will be on your permanent record. The military can provide treatment options and counseling. However, if you wish to remain private STDCheck can provide treatment options as well. Learn more about our STD Testing options today.
For your convenience, our clinicians offer consultation for any positive STD test results through our service. If you wish to receive medication as well, there is a $95 treatment fee for the issuance of the prescription.
You will choose a time slot for the clinician to call when you submit our consultation form (which can be found in your secure online account).
On the day of your appointment, you will receive a call from the clinician, who can call a prescription into the pharmacy of your choice.
Medically Reviewed by J. Frank Martin JR., MD on May 23, 2022
Author: Esther Jordan
Esther Jordan has been a writer ever since she can remember. She has always loved the free gift of self-expression through journaling, creating stories, and sharing life experiences in front of audiences. Public speaking and creating content has been a strong suit of hers since high school. Immediately after college, she received a paid position as an search engine optimization (SEO) writer in 2010 when SEO was still a very brick and mortar concept for a lot of small businesses. It was a time of do-it-yourself websites and online magic that everyone wanted and either referred to it as SEO or pay-per-click (PPC).