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STIs are on the rise


It is said that most people think about sex multiple times a day. In this
day and age, it is becoming more common for people to have multiple
sexual partners during their lifetimes. Most people see college as a
time to experiment with their sexual behavior. One might like to think
that there will not be any consequences for promiscuous behavior, but
the threats are all too real, from unplanned pregnancies to the many
rampant and contagious sexually transmitted infections.
The average rate of STIs on a college campus is 32 percent, while the
average rate at Florida Gulf Coast University is 36 percent. The incidence
of STIs at FGCU is probably similar to other universities: Overall, about
6 percent of males and 3 percent of females in college have chlamydia; the
most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection.
There are many ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections;
however there is only one way to ensure that you will not be at risk,
which is abstaining from sexual behavior. Because 80 percent of college
students are sexually active, it is advisable to use condoms, vaccination
(against HPV and Hepatitis B), judgment and frequent screening.
“I feel that people don’t think it’s sexy to talk about their partners
sexual relationships. You don’t want to ask them because it’s almost
taboo and people think that if you ask someone about it, they will react
as if you accused them of getting an STD,” said Jake Eisenmann, a senior
and social science major. “Everyone has put more emphasis on safe sex,
and the accessibility of condoms and information is so widespread that
there should be no excuse. It’s a culture of ignorance that has to change.”
“The problem with condoms is they are operator dependent, and they
are operated by males who often aren’t thinking clearly. Both males and
females should take an active role in condom use,” said Dr. Kevin Collins,
director of health services.
FGCU has many programs in place and are offered to all students
year round. Also, Prevention and Wellness offers many educational
programs on campus that focus on STI prevention and screening.
The Student Health Services website offers additional information
and resources and the Health Center physicians, nurses and nurse
practitioners look for educational and screening opportunities at most
patient encounters.
“STIs are rising because people aren’t taking the proper precautions
or talking with their partner. People think it’s easier to not use a condom
and that it ruins the mood sexually,” said Elizabeth Shephard, a junior
psychology major. “Prevention and Wellness has free condoms that you
can get at any time of the day. There are no judgments passed. You can
come whenever.”
“Most think it’s uncool to get informed about safe sex, especially
when getting protection. Many women think it’s the guy’s job to get the
protection,” said Katie Stiefbold, a sophomore marketing major. “You
have to be careful. If you are going to put yourself out there, you have to
make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, sexually active women
younger than 26 should be tested each year for chlamydia. Between 70
and 90 percent of infected women are asymptomatic, and if they aren’t
treated, an infected woman can develop pelvic inflammatory disease,
which can lead to sterility. About 50 percent of chlamydia cases in males
are asymptomatic. SHS offers a chlamydia test for $13, and no exam is
necessary because results are obtained from a urine specimen.
“Being unmarried, having a new partner or having multiple partners
are all risk factors for acquiring a sexually transmitted infection and
these are common characteristics of college students,” Collins said.
According to Collins, college students tend to practice serial
monogamy, which is when most college students have just one sex
partner at a time. However, the partner may be replaced by a new
partner over months rather than over years or decades.
Students need to realize that if they have an STI, the overall statistics
won’t matter to them other than to reassure them they are not alone. If
someone has an STI, they should get treatment as soon as possible so as
to not spread it any further.
Preventing, diagnosing and treating sexually transmitted infections is
an important and ongoing endeavor because people will continue to have
sex. Students should remember that each time they have unprotected
sex they are putting themselves at risk. More importantly, they should
avoid or limit the risky behavior as much as possible.

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