STD's On The Rise Among College-Aged Population

STD's On The Rise Among College-Aged Population

What your body may be up against, and how to prevent contraction.
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College is a time that has historically been known as a time where many individuals experiment and engage in promiscuous behaviors. Some may have romantic relationships and even engage in sexual activity for the first time, while others will try out many partners due to the influence of alcohol and/or drug use, experimentation, and learning about themselves. In fact, 15 to 24-year-olds account for 1/4 of sexually active Americans.

But with this promiscuity among college students comes a high-risk of consequences that may follow suit, especially since the condom-use rates have dramatically dropped over the years. In fact, only 1/2 of sexually active college students are using condoms.

This decline in condom-use has had significant affects among the college community, and not for the better. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report in October on the spread of STDs in the United States showing cases of gonorrhea in the U.S. increased by 13 percent between 2014 and 2015. Cases of syphilis rose by 19 percent. And the number of cases of chlamydia grew to 1.5 million—the highest level the CDC has ever recorded.

The report showed the majority of cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea were among people ages 15 to 24. Most college students in the U.S. are between 18 and 25 years old.

In addition, 1 in 5 college students are reported to have genital herpes.

While the CDC reported in April that the pregnancy rate among women age 15 to 19 in the U.S. reached an all-time low, this change is because more young people are using contraceptive methods such as the birth control pill.

But, the pill does not prevent the spread of STDs.

Many STDs are asymptomatic until its too late, but these STDs can be really significant if gone untreated. Herpes lasts a lifetime, and while symptoms and breakouts can be managed, it cannot be treated once contacted. If left untreated, gonorrhea in women can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, a very painful disease that can cause infertility or even death. In men, gonorrhea can be very painful and lead to sterility. Syphilis can cause paralysis, numbness, blindness and dementia. In the late stages of syphilis, the disease damages your internal organs and can result in death.

And other STDs are on the rise in America as well, including a new STD called Mycoplasma genitalium that is treatable and mimics many of the same symptoms as gonorrhea, and even HIV (which is largely in part from the growing heroin problem).

So, why are so few college students using condoms?

Besides the obvious influence of alcohol and drug use, there are several other factors that may contribute to the significant decline in condom-use, and therefore, rise in STDs. Many females don't keep condoms on them, nor ask their partners to use them, because they feel it is embarrassing. Many college guys have created a stigma, claiming sex with a condom "doesn't feel as good." But look at it this way: at the end of the day, sex is still sex. While safe sex may be slightly less arousing or comfortable, it's a whole lot more arousing than green discharge from an STD, sores that may flare up throughout the rest of your lifetime, or a life-threatening disease that may go unnoticed.

The decline in condom use may also be due to poor sex education. While it is more robust than it was for previous generations, a 2012 Guttmacher Institute report revealed that while nearly 90 percent of high schools are teaching students about abstinence and STDs, fewer than 60 percent are providing lessons about contraception methods.

STDs among college students seem to especially go unnoticed, and the CDC says that it is because many young adults are afraid of being tested, despite nearly all health centers on college campuses offering STD testing at a reasonable price. Students fear their parents will see that STD testing statement on their bill, and that it will cause uncomfortable conversation, but there are laws that protect sexual privacy.

While researchers are in the process of developing a condom that changes colors when STDs are detected, so people are aware of the risks that come with having sex with a partner and early detection for treatment, it is still not quite finished.

Ultimately, most college students are going to continue to drink, experiment, and engage in risky behaviors. But spreading the word as fast as many of these STDs are spreading is crucial. With the drastic statistic that reports 1 in 4 college students are infected with an STD, the CDC recommends students get screened for STDs at least once a year.

Most importantly, if sexually active students truly want to protect themselves and prevent the spread of STDs, wrap it up.

Cover Image Credit: https://media.glamour.com/photos/5695b02f16d0dc3747ed6add/master/pass/sex-love-life-2014-01-coach-carr-mean-girls-sex-ed-main.jpg?mbid=social_retweet

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The College Experience

A series telling the true experiences of modern day college students.

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Everyone tells you to prepare for the best years of your life.

They tell you to prepare for all of the new challenges and new opportunities.

They say that you will meet your future people in college.

What they don't tell you is how much it will hurt.

Seeing old friends disappear because you are no longer home.

Watching your grades fall because the class is too difficult to pass.

Hearing and witnessing your family struggle and you aren't able to be with them.

Seeing all of the adventures that others are going on while you are stuck in your dorm room with the same stack of papers you have been trying to finish for three days now.

They don't tell you how difficult the transition will be.

They especially don't tell you how hard it is to live with someone.

The best of friends can live together and then grow to hate each other.

Complete strangers will move in and never speak.

You'll find friends that are simply just your "writing friend" or "band friend".

Many of the labels from high school can sometimes stick around.

If you're not out drinking or clubbing, then people think you don't have a life.

College is great, but don't think that it will be easy.

You have to make things easy in order for things to happen.

You can't just go around doing whatever and expect things to work out.

It takes time and it takes commitment to succeed in life, and in college.

The best way to deal with it all, find someone!

Find someone that you can get coffee with and watch sports with.

Find someone to eat dinner and lunch with.

Find someone to study religion and math before the next test.

Find someone!

Find your someone, a friend or someone special, to help you make it through everything that life throws at you.

If I had that someone I might have been better off my first year.

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