Students, safe sex and STIs
By Shelby Dechant, Staff Writer
Since junior high we’ve been talking about safe sex and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Unfortunately, having your gym teacher pass out condoms and scare you with pictures of gonorrhea doesn’t guarantee the practice of safe sex. In Canada, between 1998 and 2015, the number of people with chlamydia (the most common STI) has gone from 39,372 to 116,499, and the statistics continue to rise. This goes for all ages and genders, which yes, includes university students. As if we don’t have enough to worry about already.
University is the time to explore. Having an active sex life is normal. If you want to sleep with multiple people, just one, or maybe no one, that’s perfectly fine. Unfortunately, what is also normal is not practicing safe sex. Without a condom you are increasing your chances of contracting an STI by 100 per cent. And here’s the kicker — STI rates in Canada are steadily increasing and are highest among young adults. A word of advice: condoms aren’t that bad. Perhaps try testing out a new brand before opting to go without.
Safe sex doesn’t only mean always using a condom. There are many other steps to ensuring you have a healthy sex life. If you’re sexually active you should be getting tested regularly, even if nothing seems off. Asking your partner when they were last tested is also an important step. Another practice to have as university students is to avoid high risk encounters. These can be hookups you have while under the influence. You most likely wouldn’t twerk on the speakers at Cowboys if you were sober, just like you most likely wouldn’t hook up with the stranger whose first name is a mystery if you were sober. If you’re under the influence, maybe give it a second thought.
STIs are not a fun topic. It’s awkward and uncomfortable talking about your genitals, but if you don’t talk about it you’re only hurting yourself. Going to a doctor to ask for an STI test is daunting, but the relief you will feel after is worth it. Being proactive and ensuring that you’re following the appropriate steps to keep yourself safe is worth it. If you’re careful you won’t need to worry the next time you get tested. Practicing safe sex will bring you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your sex life.
It’s more likely that you or someone you know will get an STI than it is that you’ll graduate with a 4.0. With these odds, unprotected sex just isn’t worth it. Go buy a pack of condoms and book an appointment at the school clinic to be tested. Safe sex makes for great sex.