What no student wants to talk about: STDs and how to prevent them
Last spring, a rumor dominated conversations on the TCU campus: a freshman had contracted HIV and sparked an epidemic on campus.
Even though there was no truth to it, TCU medical officials were frustrated not only by the rumor, but also by what wasn’t discussed: how to prevent the spread of STDs.
“There’s no safe sex, just safe sex,” said Ruthie Kested, a medical assistant at Brown-Lupton Health Center. The health center, which distributes condoms, sexual health testing and counseling, is TCU’s first line of defense.
Half of all STD cases reported in the United States involve people between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common STDs seen on college campuses, including TCU, are human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
“Sexually transmitted diseases are commonly spreading among young people, especially on college campuses,” said Kested, who added that they were also on the rise in Texas.
Even though STDs are more common among young people than many realize, there continues to be significant resistance to testing due to negative stigma.
Raising awareness and testing for STDs is crucial, and the health center is here to help. “We are offering asymptomatic testing to all students at TCU,” Kested said. “Students can call the health center and make an appointment at any time. It may just be a visit to the lab with a nurse, or they may also see a provider. »
According to the Tarrant County Department of Public Health, leaving an STD untreated poses a serious health risk and increases the possibility of infecting others.
If a TCU student discovers he has contracted an STD, Kested suggests he schedules an appointment for testing and treatment at the health center. Also, if a student comes in because they may have been exposed, the clinic will treat them immediately, even if they haven’t tested positive yet.
Dr. Kested and the health center staff would like to remind students to be mindful, thoughtful, and smart. “When it comes to sex, it’s important to be proactive, not reactive,” Kested added. TCU students should get tested regularly for STDs and use protection such as condoms.
“It’s important that we as TCU continue to repeat that message,” Kested said. “It is crucial as an institution. Safer sex! »