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College Campus Sex-ed A Growing Concern

UNIVERSITIES ENCOURAGED TO TEACH STUDENTS

Photo: Jeff Hawkins

It’s no secret that college students like to party, but excessive comes with a list of risks. One of which is potentially facing the consequences of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) if safe sex isn’t practiced.

Society and mainstream media drown audiences with sexually explicit content, but rarely advertises the importance of safe sex practices. Much of this media is targeted at youth and engaging in sexual exploration without the rhetoric of precaution and practical safety. 

In a community that uses sex for marketing and gossip, why is it difficult for people to talk about sexual health? Without openly discussing the repercussions of unsafe sex practices,  it’s impossible for people to know exactly where the right resources are if they’re concerned about their health or need medical help.

Although they are not often discussed, STIs are more common than people believe. Unfortunately, college students make up half or more of reported STI cases every year. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people with reported STIs for the year of 2015 was 1,526,658 for chlamydia, 395,216 for gonorrhea, 23,872 for primary and secondary syphilis—the first two stages of syphilis—and 487 for congenital syphilis, which occurs in children who are born to mothers with syphilis. In October of 2016, the CDC found that the numbers for reported cases of STIs among college-aged people had skyrocketed. The CDC discovered over 1.5 million new cases of chlamydia, nearly 395,000 new cases of gonorrhea, and 24,000 new cases of syphilis. Over 40 percent of these cases were reported among people between the ages of 15 and 24.

The CDC also states that, “Both young men and young women are heavily affected by STIs—but young women face the most serious long-term health consequences. It is estimated that undiagnosed STIs cause infertility in more than 20,000 women a year.” Many symptoms of STIs are not noticeable and have the potential to become debilitating if left untreated.

It’s not just students’ jobs to seek out information on sexual health; universities should be providing resources for sexual education. The CDC advises everyone to get tested and even calls STI screenings “critical.” Luckily, the Auraria Campus offers a variety of resources to ensure students sex safety. Students can find resources and medical help at the Health Center located in the Plaza building, as well as the LGBTQ+ Student Resource Center located in the Tivoli.

The Health Center offers a variety of services including safer sex instruction, STI testing and treatment, and free and confidential HIV testing. Being tested for an STI or HIV is recommended for anyone who has been sexually active but never been tested for HIV, or has had unprotected sex since their last HIV test. The LGBTQ+ Student Resource Center provides resources on safe sex practices as well as information on HIV and AIDS, and information specific to sexually active queer students.

Students can find additional resources on the offices’ websites and can also seek out help in the event of sexual assault at either office or the Phoenix Center at Auraria.

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