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Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
All sexually active people should use STD testing services to regularly get screened for sexually transmitted diseases. However, college students, in particular, should regularly use these services. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, college-aged teens and young adults are among the age demographic that has the highest STD rates in the U.S., which is why students under the age of 24 should get checked often.
The Dartmouth, a Dartmouth University news source, published an article about the importance of staying safe while engaging in sexual activity and getting tested for STDs. According to the news source, the small number of students who utilize STD testing services in the school is concerning. These individuals may be concerned about being seen in the student health center because of the stigma that often surrounds STDs, especially on a small college campus. This is why it is important for there to be regular discussions about STDs in colleges and for students to know that there are ways to get tested that do not involve having to go to the health center or even their family doctor.
STDs and college campuses
It is important for all college students to know the dangers of STDs on campus. According to Elite Daily, an estimated one out of every four college students has an STD. This number highlights the importance of using condoms during all forms of sexual activity and using STD testing services.
Condoms are the only form of contraceptives that can protect against STDs. Yet, Elite Daily pointed out that only 54 percent of college students say that they regularly use condoms during vaginal intercourse. Also, only 4 percent stated that they use condoms during oral sex. Many people - college students and older adults alike - may be unaware that they can contract STDs through oral sex including herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea and even HIV.
The news source cited a 2004 survey conducted by CDC researchers that asked 830 girls whether they had any of four STDs. They found that 18 percent had the human papillomavirus, 4 percent had chlamydia, 2.5 percent had trichomoniasis and 2 percent had genital herpes. These STDs may lead to infertility in young women or even cervical cancer if they are left untreated. Furthermore, women can have these STDs for years without showing any symptoms, so without STD testing services they may have no idea that they are even infected.
There are many reasons why college students may be more susceptible to STDs. For example, young people may be more likely to engage in risky sexual activity, and they may also be more likely to drink large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis than other individuals, which can increase their chances of making poor sexual decisions.
For example, Elite Daily stated that over 45 percent of binge drinking college students have said that they failed to consider using contraceptives while having sex. Alcohol can keep people from thinking clearly or even being able to consent in sexual activity, which is why it is important for students to drink in moderation - or not at all if they are underage - and avoid sexual encounters while under the influence of alcohol.
Finally, it is important for students to remember that their student health centers are not the only places where they can get tested for STDs. They can order anonymous blood tests that can be conducted at labs without them ever having to set foot in a doctor's office if that makes them uncomfortable. Regardless of how they choose to do it, college students should utilize STD testing services in order to keep themselves healthy and prevent spreading the infections to others.
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