HUMP DAY: SPIKE IN STD CASES ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES IN 2015
This article, published by the Center for Disease Control discusses the spike of 3 specific STDs among college-age students. The article points out that in 2015, numbers conclude “…over 1.5 million new cases of chlamydia, about 395,000 new cases of gonorrhea and nearly 24,000 cases of syphilis.” Additionally, 53% of gonorrhea cases, and 65% of the chlamydia cases were found in person aged 15-24.
The article harps on the idea that STDs being most common in the college-aged population is nothing new. Rather, what is not new, is the increase in STD cases in recent years. However, it may not be that the numbers are necessarily increasing. It is also possible that sexual health resources for students are becoming more readily available, and therefore, more cases are being properly diagnosed and reported. University of Oregon is one institution that has implemented initiatives in regards to their student’s sexual health. In September 2016, the school employed a service that provides medical care from a trained nurse, for a low fee. Plus, it is convenient for students as it is located on the campus.
Along with these available screenings, safe sex supplies can also be acquired from the student union, and the recreation center. The services have proven overwhelmingly successful. The school goes through about 600 condoms a week, and the screening services are also booked at least 2 weeks in advance. Unfortunately, some universities experience budget cuts from the state, and services like these are one of the first to go. Let us hope this is not the case for our own school, or schools like University of Oregon that already have such successful practices in place.
Ultimately, in order to educate students about protecting themselves, and their bodies, along with the bodies of their partners, the article recommends a proactive approach. Starting at orientation, when all new students are present, can be effective. In an orientation setting, the article encourages educators to “… acknowledge that STDs are connected to conversations about contraceptives, and those conversations are related to discussions about consent. It’s important to tie these topics together.” This would seem like an effective, and practical approach. However, orientation is overwhelming. Students are more likely to worry about fitting in, than worrying about STDs they may or may not contract down the road. Because of this, continuing education and advertising safe sex practices and available resources is what will allow college-age students to combat the prevalence of STDs. With education, and time, the college-age population can get STD numbers back to where they normally stand.
Read the full article here: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/11/03/cdc-finds-sharp-growth-stds-college-age-population
Written and researched by peer educator, Colleen MacBride