Heading off to college or university for the first time is the start of a new stage of your life. It’s a stage of newfound freedom, learning, and exploration. For most college students it’s a time for meeting new people, parties, alcohol consumption, dating, and sex. With all of this comes the very real risk of STDs.
While they make up only one fourth of sexually active population, nearly half of the 20 million new STDs diagnosed each year are among young people aged 15–24 years, and one in four new HIV infections are among youth ages 13 to 24 years. Anybody who has oral, anal, or vaginal sex, or genital skin-to-skin contact with another person can get a STD — in fact, almost all sexually active people get one at some point in their life.
What are STDs?
STDs are infections that are passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They’re really common, and lots of people who have them don’t have any symptoms.
STDs don’t usually have any symptoms. So, the only way to know for sure if you or a partner has an STD is to get tested. But the good news is, getting tested is usually quick, easy, and painless. And STDs can be cured or treated with medication.
Some STDs are serious, and others are no big deal. Women are more at risk of having long term effects of these diseases, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal scarring, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain but men are at risk of serious health issues too. Either way, getting treatment if you need it is the best way to help you stay healthy.
Getting tested is as simple as calling in to make an appointment at your college’s health clinic, your doctor’s office when you’re home on break, at a health department clinic, or a nearby Planned Parenthood