By Chelsea Moran
Blog Content Conributor
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, better known as the CDC, nearly 10 million of the average 20 million STDs diagnosed every year are among those aged 15-24 years old. Most of the people in that age group are college students, meaning all sexually active students have a high risk of contracting an std during their college career. That’s not what you want so please make sure you are informed and practice safe sex.
The obvious way to avoid contracting any STD is to be celibate; however, this is unrealistic for most students. In this case, always remember to use a condom. They are not 100 percent effective but they will help reduce the risk of contracting any STDs or an unplanned pregnancy. Also, talk to you sex partners before engaging in any sexual activity to make sure each of you are aware of the risk. Not all STDs are curable but some can be treated with antibiotics. The three most commonly diagnosed STDs, according to the CDC, are the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Chlamydia and Herpes.
Nearly all sexually active people get some type of HPV during their life. You may not know you have HPV until serious side effects occur, such as genital warts for both men and women or abnormal pap smear results in women screening for cervical cancer. Nearly all types of HPV can be treated and it’s recommended that you be vaccinated and do your follow up vaccinations.
Signs that you may have this STD may not occur until several weeks after contracting it. However, it can still cause serious damage before then. Noticeable side effects include abnormal discharge, burning when urinating, rectal pain and bleeding. Chlamydia can be treated and should be regularly tested for.
Herpes is not only common but perhaps one the most common STDs among Texas State students; have you heard of Bobcat Bumps? There is really no way to know if you have herpes unless you’re having an outbreak. There is no cure or vaccination for herpes but there are medications to prevent an outbreak from happening and medications to prevent the spread of herpes to your partner.
If you are sexually active, regardless if you’re in a monogamous relationship, you should regularly get tested, at the very least, once a year. The Texas State Health Center provides testing for STDs or STIs and does take insurance. Your college years may be crazy and fun but don’t forget that safety and health come first.