Well, it’s back to school time again. Along with new teachers, new classes, and new assloads of work, we’re also going to be finding ourselves in a sea of new faces – which means one thing: fresh meat.
Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, college campuses everywhere will be packed with new people to party with, new people to study with, and yes, new people to have sex with. We all know the first few months of school are typically when the hormones of many kick in (this goes back to the “fresh meat” thing), and people everywhere are gettin’ busy. A lot.
So before we all pack up our stuff, say goodbye to free food and laundry and head back to school, here are a few STI facts to keep in mind when checking out all those new sexual prospects come September.
1 in 5 Americans are infected with an STI – That’s right, folks, 1 in 5. That means, in your class of 100, there’s a chance that somewhere near 20 people could be infected with some sort of STI. See now why it’s important to always use a condom?
The three most common STIs include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HPV. Luckily, many of us are eligible for the HPV vaccine which will almost completely eliminate our chance of contracting the forms of HPV that can lead to nasty genital and cervical cancers.
While most STIs can be treated with antibiotics and other medications, HIV, HPV, hepitits-B and herpes are incurable. While these diseases can be managed with the help of medication, you will (typically) carry the virus for life. Now, imagine having to have the “just so you know, I have herpes” talk with all of your future partners. Not so fun.
While most of us associate an STI with changes in our genitals (itching, burning, weird discharge), oftentimes there are no symptoms. The only way to be sure that you are STI-free is by getting tested regularly by your doctor – a simple routine that can be conducted at the same time that you get your annual PAP (or whenever it’s possible that you’ve been exposed to something). Women should be seeing a doctor for their annual physical/PAP smear once a year beginning when they become sexually active. If you do have symptoms, be sure to get to your doctor – your symptoms won’t go away just because you pretend they’re not there.
The good news is that most schools and health clinics offer free condoms to students and patients – some even offering a polyurethane alternative for those with latex allergies. We all know that condoms can be a little pricey, but stopping by the clinic and taking what you need is a perfectly reasonable alternative. Colleges go out of their way to make these resources available to their students because they know the importance of safe sex.
There is no excuse for putting your health at risk by having unsafe sex. Go out and have fun, but remember to get tested regularly and always, always, always use a condom.