With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we’re focusing on healthy relationships this month, starting with college students. Although Trojan’s 2013 report card reveals that some colleges are excelling in terms of sexual health, overall STDs are still on the rise among college-aged adults.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that gonorrhea and chlamydia rates are highest among 15 and 24-year olds, at 58% and 69% respectively. Overall, gonorrhea cases have risen 4.1% since 2011, and chlamydia 0.7% since 2011.
If these rates aren’t alarming enough, consider that they only include self-reported cases — meaning that thousands of STD infections could be slipping through the cracks. With serious long-term consequences at stake — including infertility, higher risk of HIV, and even death — it’s key that college-aged adults understand the importance of STD testing.
Why are STDs rising among college-aged adults?
Many of the STDs affecting college students are “silent” infections, meaning they primarily affect the internal organs and do not manifest symptoms. For example, according to the CDC chlamydia doesn’t exhibit symptoms in 70 – 80% of infected women and 50% of infected men. Other STDs spread by college-aged adults can have symptoms that are confused with other afflictions — this is why gonorrhea is often mistakenly thought to be a urinary tract infection. Usually, STD testing is the only way to diagnose an STD and begin treatment.
Despite strides in public education on STDs, there is still a social stigma attached to STD infection which makes infected college students feel they can’t report or share their STDs. If a student feels ashamed to admit they have an STD, they may get STD testing but ignore the infection and continue its spread through sexual activity.
Sexual myths among college students
A lack of proper sexual education also contributes to the rise in STDs among college students. Many young adults are misinformed about sex, and by spreading sexual myths they inadvertently spread STDs, too. Whether caused by a lack of proper sex education in high schools or just the perpetuation of misinformation by manipulative individuals, by believing in sexual myths, college students may feel they don’t need STD testing — and they could unknowingly infect others.
How to pay for STD testing
Clearly, STD testing is key for college students. But many students worry about how to pay for STD testing. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to pay for STD testing. This means that college students — whether under a school plan or still covered under a parent’s insurance — can get access to affordable STD testing and help fight the spread of STDs.
Get quick, reliable STD testing today!
College students, ready to help slow the rise of STDs in your age group and protect your personal sexual health? Head to your local ARCpoint Labs for reliable, confidential, and quick STD testing. We have comprehensive STD panels at our walk-in labs, making it easy for you to know if you are infected and begin treatment ASAP.