Youth ignore warnings despite STD facts

By Kendall Neil
April 29, 2004

Shawn Rice

Although condoms are widely available and sex education in high school stressed their use, three fourths of sexually active college students have unprotected sex.

A male junior psychology major said that he has engaged in unprotected sex before but only with one person. “I think its ok in a totally monogamous relationship, if the female is on birth control but the couple knows the consequences,” he said. While admitting that he is aware of the risks of having unprotected sex, such as sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, he says that there are times when you get caught up in the “heat of the moment” and it just happens.

Getting caught up in the moment can lead to something life altering. Many college kids say that they are aware of some of the risks like pregnancy and certain STDs but don’t feel as though they had enough of an education to fully understand everything that could happen. Some students had sex education classes in high school but don’t feel as though they have all the information that they should.

A freshman female said that the facts and pictures about STDs merely ‘creeped’ her out. She has also engaged in unprotected sex with her boyfriend of three years. However, she is also on birth control and in her experience has never had any type of scare. “I think that most people never really think it could happen to them. Pregnancy is probably the thing I am most afraid of, however,” she said. “There’s the chance for every girl to get pregnant, but not everyone has an STD.”

Going out to parties and using drugs and alcohol can cause people to make bad judgment calls. In a study conducted in 2001 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this research concluded that risky sexual behaviors were considered to be 1.76 times more likely when alcohol was consumed as opposed to it not being consumed.

A female senior education major admitted to having unprotected sex after consuming alcohol her junior year in college. “I did with a very good friend of mine who I had known for two years. It was raining outside and neither of us wanted to go outside to the other room where the condoms were to get one,” she said. Although on birth control, she started to worry and took a pregnancy test. The test came out negative. “I don’t regret what happened. I feel as though if something were to have happened he wouldn’t have just run away from the situation.”

The most frequently reported STDs are gonorrhea and chlamydia; over a half million cases of each are reported each year. According to, “somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of college students are or have been infected with an STD (sexually transmitted disease). Although there may be differences from campus to campus, chlamydia, HPV (Human Papillomavirus) or genital warts, and genital herpes appear to be the most common STDs among college students in general.”

A female sophomore English and communication major has been tested for possible STDs during a gynecologist appointment. “I had unprotected sex once before, but I really didn’t worry about contracting an STD too much because I knew the other person’s sexual history,” she said. She feels as though kids in college don’t get tested for STDs because they either feel as though it can’t happen to them or they are in fear that it has already happened to them. However, she agrees that pregnancy is probably her biggest fear about having unprotected sex. “I knew a girl who called me and told me that she was 5 months pregnant. Pregnancy really puts your life on hold whereas when you have an STD, you still have the chance to live life.”

The reality is that there are 15 million new cases of STDs in the United States, 10 million of those affecting people aged 15-24. Most of those who are infected probably felt as though they didn’t need to use protection; the person they were sleeping with didn’t “look” like the type of person who would have an STD. But while there are some STDs that can be cured, they can have a lasting effect on your health and on your future sex life. For more information on safer sex visit:

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Posted to the web by Shawn Rice

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Kendall Neil

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