MU OB/GYN urges students to practice safe sex

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OB/GYN at Marshall Health Jared Brownfield, M.D, said he wants college students to understand safe sex practices.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, around one half of all new STDs diagnosed occur in the age range 15-24, which includes the average college student. About 26 percent of all new HIV infections are among youth ages 13-24, and about four in five of these infections occur in males according to the CDC.

To reduce the risk of contracting STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and others, use a condom. Sexually active females aged 25 years or younger should get tested every year for chlamydia, said Brownfield.

“From an OBGYN’s point of view, I think it is important for women to realize that STDs can go undetected,” Brownfield said. “This could result in long term consequences such as decreased future fertility or chronic pelvic pain.”

A well-established way to reduce these risks is the correct and consistent use of condoms, although the use of condoms does not entirely eliminate the risk of STDs. Just one single act of intercourse with an infected partner and without the use of a condom can cause a person to catch an STD.

Brownfield said condoms have routinely been shown to lower the risk of all common STDs.

The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs, including HIV, are to practice abstinence or be in a long-term monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner according to the CDC.

Latex condoms, when used correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Condom use can also reduce the risk for HPV infection and HPV associated diseases.

STDs can be prevented, are treatable and can be curable. An infected person can be completely unaware of their infections because STDs are often asymptomatic or unrecognized. The CDC encourages all sexualy active college students to get tested, especially women.

“Young women who are sexually active are encouraged to undergo routine screening for STDs which can be done at a Marshall Health clinic or a local health department,” Brownfield said.

Logan Parkulo can be contacted at [email protected]