University urges students to get tested for STDs

Marquette University, an institution in Milwaukee, Wisc., is urging all of its students to be more proactive about getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to The Marquette Tribune, the student health center at the university is launching a “Get Yourself Tested” campaign to make young people more aware of the health benefits of safer sex.

Data from the 2012 National College Health Assessment shows that more than 62 percent of college students at Marquette were sexually active, yet only 3.6 percent of students visited the university’s student health service for STD testing last year. According to Robin Brown, associate director of the student health service, this could become a growing problem on college campuses across the country.

“Through campaigns such as (Get Yourself Tested) and National STD Awareness Month, sexually active young people are urged to get tested, thereby taking responsibility for their own health and the health of others,” Brown told The Marquette Tribune. “Many STDs do not cause symptoms, such as chlamydia, HIV and HPV, so it is important for all sexually active individuals to have a conversation with their doctor or their student health service and get tested.”

Brown noted that waiting for symptoms of STDs to appear can lead to serious health problems because infections can easily be spread to others. Brown also recommended that all sexually active students be tested at least yearly for chlamydia. If students have more than one sexual partner, they should be tested more frequently.

Overall, the NCHA concluded that only 61.2 percent of students on college campuses reported using a condom the last time they had vaginal intercourse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that people ages 15 to 24 are the highest at-risk group for STDs, so programs like “Get Yourself Tested” could be a great way to slow the high infection rates.

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