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.

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.

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!


Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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