Condoms are your friend. If maps like this one haven't inspired you to keep a box or two around the house, then this little bit of news should certainly provide enough of a push: a sexually transmitted infection you've most certainly never even heard of is now believed to be impacting "hundreds of thousands" of people.
"These findings suggest that only testing those who are currently symptomatic would miss the majority of infections," Dr. Pam Sonnenberg, lead author of a study that suggests the infection known as Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) is transmitted through unprotected sex, tells Mashable. Though MG first emerged in the 1980s, these new findings point to a much greater sense of urgency surrounding its status among sexually active individuals.
An analysis of 4,500 urine samples via Britain’s National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles discovered that people between the ages of 25 to 44 are "most likely" to test positive for MG. Among those who reported "more than four sexual partners" in the past 12 months, MG was diagnosed at a higher rate. Additionally, anyone not using a condom (of course) had a higher chance of testing positive. Sonnenberg's research, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology earlier this week, also shows that most people (90 percent of men and "more than half" of women) never report any symptoms. Though many who have been infected often report little or no symptoms at all, women who did have a physical response to the infection reportedly cite "vaginal bleeding after sex" as the most common symptom. If left untreated, the infection can also cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can also lead to fertility issues.
In summary, WEAR A CONDOM.