By the time students hit college, they’ve come to know a lot about the dangers of campus sex, including the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
In their first year of college, about 80 percent of sexually transmitted diseases cases are caused by STIs.
But that number drops as students enter college and the number of students at risk drops.
The CDC estimates that about 6.6 million Americans are at high risk of getting STIs, or about 7.6 percent of the adult population.
For every one person who develops an infection, 1.4 others will contract the disease.
It’s a big problem, especially since most people can’t prevent infection.
In the past few years, many colleges have taken steps to reduce the risk and even educate students about the risks of STIs by using condoms.
But for some students, the benefits of using condoms have been too little, too late.
“There are so many myths out there about condoms that it’s hard for students to know if they need to use condoms,” said Julie Gebhard, who has been the coordinator of the college-level prevention project at the University of Chicago’s health sciences program since 2015.
“I think it’s been very frustrating for students.”
Gebhart said she has encountered students who were initially hesitant to use a condom because they didn’t think it would work.
“It’s not just a problem of misinformation.
I think that students are really concerned about getting tested, and I don’t think that there is a lot of information out there that explains how to test and to get tested,” Gebhart said.
Students may think they can just take a piece of paper, Gebharths said.
“Students are really worried about getting STI tests and being tested and having a needle,” she said.
The best way to prevent STIs is to avoid sex.
“If you’re having sex, you are at risk of developing a sexually transmitted infection,” said Dr. Michael J. Hays, professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
The good news is that condoms don’t have to be expensive.
Many colleges and universities offer discounted STI testing at a cost of $5 or less, which could save you thousands of dollars in medical bills and financial stress.
But the problem is that even these discounts don’t protect against getting infected.
“They don’t provide enough protection against the transmission of STI and the risk that it will spread,” said J. Scott Pritchard, associate professor of public health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health who studies STIs at the university’s Perelman School of Medicine.
For students who are already infected, the CDC recommends a course of antibiotics and tests, as well as counseling to help students know how to prevent and treat STIs and other sexually transmitted disease infections.
But even the best-case scenario doesn’t work for everyone, and not everyone can afford the $5 cost of a test or an antibiotic, Gewirtz said.
Many people who are HIV-positive and STI-positive can afford these tests, but many of those who are STI positive can’t afford them.
“Many people are out of options,” Gewortz said, adding that it could be tempting for students who have low income to skip the tests altogether, but that could actually lead to a lot more students contracting STIs in the long run.
One solution that is gaining traction is the use of condoms as a preventive measure.
But because condoms are expensive and aren’t available for free, students are often reluctant to buy condoms.
Even if condoms are cheap, Gee said, the risks are still high and they shouldn’t be used without a plan to prevent the spread of the infection.
“Just having condoms is going to keep you from getting STDs,” Gee added.
Students have a right to be safe, she said, but condoms also have to prevent getting sexually transmitted illness and pregnancy.
But without the right resources and awareness, it’s very difficult to make any significant changes.
“What we’re really seeing is a very small group of people are making very large and profound changes, and it’s the majority of people who have the opportunity to make those changes,” Gees said.
While some students are hesitant to get condoms because they don’t want to risk getting STis, others are doing it because they need a way to get a break from sex.
In many cases, those who aren’t using condoms because of fear of STDs aren’t actually avoiding sex.
Students are being told that STIs aren’t spread through sexual activity.
“When you’re talking about sexual activity, you’re not talking about sex in any way, shape or form,” Giehart said.
But if a student does decide to have sex, the only thing that really matters is how they transmit the infection, Giehardt said.
Some students may want to have a condom for the convenience of sex, but they shouldn´t take the risk because