Dear Incoming Freshman, Please Add Condoms to Your List of School Supplies
Posted by Lailah Berry
August 31, 2017
“Americans are having less sex” says CNN news article, but the spread and severity of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs) are on the rise. New York magazine surveyed over 700 students and to their findings, only 41 percent of women and 49 percent of men reported being sexually active. You might assume that because of TV shows like “Skins” and “Shameless” college is a literal hotbed of sexual activity. Not so. In fact, in the same survey about 39 percent of students identified as virgins. So to assume that more and more young people are having less sex may not be far fetched.
While sex is seemingly on a decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced this summer that over 70 countries have identified a strain of gonorrhea that’s harder to treat because of weak antibiotics. “The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said Dr Teodora Wi, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction, at WHO.
So how does this affect young people? Well, it affects everybody. A bacterial infection that’s harder to treat makes unprotected sex a little scary. Its about that time to start college, where you’ll be introduced to many different people,and their germs, and have awesome experiences that will teach you and prepare you for life. Step one for crushing college: always be prepared. When you’re prepared life is simpler, so I have some advice on how to avoid unwanted STDs, STIs and headaches from worrying about your health status.
1. Always use a condom: Whether you’re having a one- time hookup or if you’ve known the person for a long time,still use a condom. Not only can condoms help protect you from STDs and STIs, you can also protect yourself from an unintended pregnancy.
2. Don’t want to use a condom?- Get tested regularly with your partner. It’s the only way to know both of your statuses. Unfortunately, the stigma of having an STD weighs heavy on our decisions to go get tested. Break the cycle of shame assigned to having an STD or STI and get tested together!
3. Shower after sex and wash your sheets- Do I have statistics to back this? No, but making sure you’re as clean as possible on the outside may protect you from bacteria and germs trying to get inside. Showering often and changing your sheets regularly can keep you safe from anything lingering after your sexual encounters.
4. If you’re in college use the resources around you- At my school, there are tons of free condoms everywhere. I can’t get to class during the first few weeks without someone passing out a condom or a table of organizations offering free ones.
If you’re on one of the many campuses that doesn’t offer adequate sexual health services, find a health center, or urgent care facility that offers STD and STI testing. Your local reproductive health clinic is also a good option for any of your needs.
There is no %100 sure fire way to be completely safe from STDs and STIs unless you choose abstinence, but we all know how unrealistic that expectation can be.
A proactive way to stay safe is to get testing’s every 3-4 months
(STD’s and STI’s can lay dormant and hide in your system with very little side effects) Use proper protection when you have sex such as condoms, vaginal condoms, dental dams and also lubricants to keep you from tearing. Lastly, remember to ALWAYS pee after sex to avoid urinary tract infections.
Learn more about the WHO’s sexual health findings: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/Antibiotic-resistant-gonorrhoea/en/