April is Get Yourself Tested here at UNH!
Did you know that 1 in 2 sexually active young adults will get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) before the age of 25? I don’t know about you but the first thing I thought of was that is half of my friends that are sexually active, and most likely half of the people sitting in my classes everyday. It’s a lot more than I ever expected. I think that we all assume we will know if something is wrong with our bodies and while some STIs have symptoms there are many that do not.
There are many myths I’m sure many of you have assumed to be true about STIs, but remember you can’t believe everything you hear or read online. Let me help you by setting the record straight (thanks to Health Services) on just a few of these myths most college students think about STIs.
Myth 1: You can tell by looking at someone if they have an STI.
Fact: Sadly it is not that easy. You cannot tell if someone has an STI by look at them. Many sexually active college students do not know they have an STI because they typically show little to no symptoms, scary right?
Myth 2: If I needed to get tested for STIs my health care provider would test me.
Fact: While some STI testing may be recommended and routine, when you visit your health care provider you still need to ask to get tested. STIs often show no symptoms, so not even your health care provider can know for sure if you have an STI without testing. Women- a pap test is NOT a test for STIs.
Myth 3: If I get an STI there is nothing I can do about it.
Fact: Many STIs are curable and most, including HIV, are treatable. The sooner you know that you have an STI, the sooner you can be treated for it and prevent it from being passed on.
Myth 4: If he pulls out I don’t have to worry about getting an STI or getting pregnant.
Fact: “Pulling out” is NOT an effective way to prevent STIs or pregnancy. Contraceptives are more effective in preventing pregnancy than pulling out. The only safer sex option that will protect you against STIs and pregnancy are condoms.
Myth 5: STI testing is only for people hooking up.
Fact: Anyone who has unprotected sex, no matter how many sexual partners they have, is at risk for STIs. Not all STIs show symptoms that is why annual STI testing is recommended for everyone, even those who are in a committed relationship.
Myth 6: Having sex in a hot tub or standing or douching and jumping up and down after sex will protect me against STIs.
Fact: Wrong. Having sex in the Cottages or Lodges hot tub is not going to prevent you from getting an STI. The only way to prevent yourself from getting an STI is by using a condom.
Myth 7: Two condoms are better than one.
Fact: Wrong. One condom does the job. No need to “double bag.” When used correctly and consistently condoms are very effective in preventing STIs. It is always a good idea to check the expiration date and make sure the condom has not been damaged before use.
Myth 8: There is a cure for HIV/AIDs.
Fact: There is medication that can help individuals infected with HIV/AIDs live a longer and healthier life but there is no cure.
Myth 9: Oral and anal are not really sex, so they are the safest.
Fact: Almost all STI’s that can be passed through vaginal sex can also be passed through unprotected oral and anal sex.
Myth 10: I use contraceptives, I don’t need to worry about STIs.
Fact: Contraceptive methods such as the pill, patch, ring, IUD, and Depo prevent pregnancy not STIs. When used correctly condoms are the only method of protection against BOTH pregnancy and STIs. For maximum protection use both a contraceptive method and condoms when having sex.
GET TESTED AT UNH & GET A $5 GIFT CARD
Getting tested/screened for STIs is easy to do, just make a confidential appointment at Health Services. You might as well get tested now because this month at Health Services you get $5 dollar gift card to Aroma Joes, Breaking New Grounds or Bagel Works, along with the piece of mind after you get tested/screened. Health Services will also be offering a free HIV testing clinic on April 23 at Health Services. Click here to learn more about getting tested at Health Services.
Free condoms and lubrication available at UNH Health Services.