Self Care and Other Topics
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and College Students
It is difficult for today's college students to get accurate facts regarding sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). The media often hypes certain information and ignores other facts. Plus there is a lot that is simply unknown to the medical community regarding some sexually transmitted diseases, like herpes and HIV. One fact is certain. Sexually transmitted diseases are preventable. The following information is provided to give you the most up to date facts on the most common infections. The decision to become sexually active has never been easy. Talk with your partner(s). Discuss your concerns. Communicate!
STD vs. VD
Venereal Disease (VD) is an outdated term. It has been replaced by Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) to include over 20 infections. Some of the more common include: Chlamydia, trichomonas, syphilis, gonorrhea, yeast genital warts, herpes, HIV.
-irritation: itches, pain, rash, tenderness around the vagina, penis, rectum
-unusual, smelly, colored discharge from the vagina or penis
-blisters, sores, chancres, lumps, warts, polyps around the genitals
-some STD’s have no initial symptoms, so all the more important to talk to your health care provider about your possible exposure
STD's are diagnosed with a smear or culture of fluid from the vagina or penis, by a physical examination, or in some cases a blood test is done. A PAP smear tests for the presence of cancer-causing cells and is not designed to diagnose STD's.
Consequences with lack of treatment
Women: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) leading to scarring of fallopian tubes which could cause tubal pregnancy or sterility
Cervical warts have a strong link with cervical cancer
Recurrent urinary tract infections
Men: Sterility caused by scarring of the epididymis
Epididymitis which is an inflammation of the tube that caries sperm from the testicles to penis
Recurrent genital rash or "jock itch"
What national studies show
-Up to 70% of college students are or have been sexually active.
-Many have more than one sexual partner in 4 years, increasing risk for exposure to
-Every day, about 2,700 babies are born to women under 20. If these women are
getting pregnant, chances are an STD could also be transmitted.
-In two studies with a total of over 6,000 college students surveyed, 19% reported having been
diagnosed with an STD.
National Studies, (continued)
-Another study at 11 northeast colleges revealed that 85% of students reported NOT using a condom the last time they had intercourse. IV drug use was reported by 4-7% of students on these campuses. IV drug use and unsafe sex increase exposure to HIV and hepatitis B.
-In a study of 243 students 47% of men and 57% of women reported having unplanned sex at least once because of intoxication which can lead to altered judgment in sexual situations.
-In New York City, AIDS is the leading cause of death in women 25-34 years.
-It is estimated that close to 1 million Americans are infected with HIV.
-As many as 2 in every 1000 college students may be infected with HIV.
-Abstinence: are you really sure you are ready to be sexually active?
-Use condoms and spermicides not only to prevent pregnancy, but also to prevent transmission of infections. The pill does not provide any protection against STD's. Spermicides with Nonoxynol-9 have been shown to kill the HIV virus.
-Limit the number of sexual partners you have and try to get to know your partners' past sexual and drug use history. Be open about concerns.
-Urinating and cleaning with soap and water before and after intercourse might help.
-Moderation in use of alcohol and other drugs that could alter your judgment in situations involving decisions about intercourse.
-If you are diagnosed with an infections, tell your partner(s). They may also need treatment.
Clinic that diagnose and treat STD’s:
Linfield Student Health Center 503-883-2535
Yamhill County Health Department 503-883-7525
Your family doctor or other local health clinics
Testing (we advise anonymous testing sites)
Linfield Student Health Center (confidential only) 503-883-2535
Yamhill County Health Department 503-883-7525
Portland Planned Parenthood 503-775-3918
Multnomah County Health Department 503-248-3775
Washington County Health Department 503-693-4734
Cascade AIDS Project - Gay & Bisexual men 503-223-5907
Westover Clinic 503-226-6678
National STD Hotline (M-F 8am-11pm) 1-800-227-8922
AIDS Information Hotline (24hr) 1-800-342-AIDS
Herpes Hotline 1-919-361-8488
American Social Health Association, www.ashastd.org
I Wanna Know, www.Iwannaknow.org
CDC National Prevention Information Network, www.cdcnpin.org
Safer Sex Page, (some explicit information on site), www.safersex.org/safer.sex