If college becomes an opportunity to lower your standards for some cheap hookups, we can’t say we blame you. Heck, the academic stress has to be dealt with somehow, right? However, you may want to consider: Many of those hotties handing out orgasms at house parties aren’t using protection, which could lead to the worst case of cooties you’ve encountered to date. Translation: Sexually Transmitted Diseases are rampant on campus. UTSA Health Services could not give statistics, but did say that gonorrhea and chlamydia were common. Both diseases are common among the general public as well. San Antonio had over 12,000 reported cases of chlamydia in 2010 and over 3,000 reported cases of gonorrhea in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC claims college-age persons “are at higher risk of acquiring STDs for a combination of behavioral, biological, and cultural reasons.” Basically, our exciting lives and accelerated sex drives are leaving us more susceptible to STDs than the rest of the population. Fortunately, I’ve got your back.
There are several ways to protect yourself from contracting anything in your extra-curricular life and, (insert deity) forbid you do contract something, there are many treatment options to get you out of that pickle. We aren’t going to say abstinence is key, because we aren’t hypocrites. While condoms can’t protect you against every STD, they are a very effective form of prevention. Complaints about the partial loss of sensation are common, but surely genital warts, aka human papillomavirus, or HPV, are much more uncomfortable. Female condoms are also available so women can protect themselves without relying on the dude. The HPV vaccine is something many women are choosing to reduce the risk of HPV and, therefore, the risk of developing cervical cancer later on. Search for other forms of STD protection online and try getting acquainted with what works for you before you hit the sheets, or the bathroom, or the car… Oh, you get it.
However, even the best preventative regime can’t catch everything. Fortunately there are plenty of resources to help you out if you suddenly feel an unwelcome itch or smell something funky. Treatment for STDs is available through either your general physician or other options like Planned Parenthood and even your school’s health department. Many universities offer affordable testing and treatment. While being tested and treated may be embarrassing, it is extremely important. When left untreated, STDs can lead to serious complications. According to the CDC, “Individuals who are infected with STDs are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected individuals to acquire HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus through sexual contact.” Thank goodness there are still plenty of ways to protect yourself and your partners.
There are several locations throughout San Antonio. Visit plannedparenthood.org to find one near you.
218 W Cypress
Specializing in HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C testing. Free.
A Woman’s Choice — Quality Health Center
920 San Pedro
“Affordable, personal care from a compassionate, highly trained professional medical team.”
San Antonio AIDS Foundation
818 E Grayson
HIV/AIDS prevention through education, counseling and testing.