Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty


You’re single and in your mid-twenties, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away some of your prime years of dating as a young adult. But congratulations, you’ve made it through just in time for the lifting of the mask mandates. Your favorite bar is open at max capacity again. You can now sit down and drink coffee with that love interest at your local cafe. Gone are the times of having to do another dreaded facetime first date with a person you swiped right on during the coronavirus-ridden latest version of Tinder. And still, here we are putting our health in jeopardy to get back into the swing of dating.    

I’m not suggesting you check your date’s vaccination card or approach the person at the bar from a six-foot safe to tell them that pick-up line you’ve been practicing all night. Just because you are triple boosted with the latest and greatest booster shot to match that new cologne you overly sprayed across your body, doesn’t mean you’re officially in the clear. Regardless of how you feel about the “pandemic being over,” don’t forget about the other health concerns we had before 2020.

Your sexual health is equally as important as the rest of your body. Just because we don’t have to wear masks, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t practice safe sex. They didn’t lift the condom mandate. As often as you get tested to fly out of the country, attend school or return to work, you should get tested for STDs at your local clinic.

Studies done by the CDC have shown an increase in STDs since the first year of the pandemic. Just because COVID-19 commands the health headlines nowadays, doesn’t mean we can sideline other health risks that young adults have historically faced.

Picture this, you’ve been cooped up inside for months and have been itching to get back out there to enjoy your twenties,   and no one’s blaming you. You meet someone cute at the club or coffee shop and you think to yourself that maybe they’ve been quarantining all this time too, so the chances of catching something from them are minuscule. There lies the problem. 

Everyone going out has the same outlook as you and the only way to protect yourself is to take precautions when it comes to sexual health. Use protection, get tested and maintain good communication with your partner(s). I’m not saying that you need to screenshot your latest STD test to upload to your dating app profile or that you need to ask your date to fill out a questionnaire pertaining to the last five dates they’ve been on. It’s as simple as having a conversation. Just because your city has opened back up and things are going back to normal, doesn’t mean you can date recklessly.

Remember, COVID-19 isn’t the only thing still spreading, and they don’t make a booster for everything.