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Sexual Health

College is often a time for hooking up and getting down. You’re an adult now, and you can do what you want. But that doesn’t mean that you can do what you want indiscriminately.

The most important rule of sexual health is a very simple one to follow: protect yourself. This doesn’t mean just carrying condoms or being on the pill. This means not getting so drunk that you don’t know what you’re doing. It means knowing the person you’re hooking up with, and knowing what your boundaries are and how to enforce them. No is a complete sentence. So is We have to use a condom.

STDs

Between 20 and 25 percent of college students will be infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). There are some nasty bugs out there that you definitely want to avoid, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, herpes, hepatitis B, and bacterial vaginosis. Some of these illnesses can be treated with antibiotics, while others, like herpes, are viruses that will be with you forever.

HIV/AIDS

One in every five hundred college students is HIV positive. HIV is a potentially fatal virus that can be transmitted through sexual contact and causes the AIDS virus. When someone is infected, they may be symptom-free for many years and not even realize they are HIV positive. You can’t tell by looking at someone if they have HIV. To protect yourself, always use a condom when you have sex. Be smart and don’t put yourself at risk, no matter what your partner says to convince you otherwise.

If you’re sexually active, get an HIV test regularly and make sure your partners have been tested recently. HIV tests are easy, confidential, and can save your life. There’s no excuse not to get one.

Pregnancy

More than 31 percent of college students report that they’ve been pregnant or have gotten someone pregnant. Your health center should be able to provide you with birth control options, or you can always use the best form of birth control—the word no.

 
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