We were always taught the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) growing up. But, as college students, do we really know all the facts?
According to Registered Nurse at the Brown House Abby Provost, the two most common sexually transmitted diseases among college students are Chlamydia and Genital Herpes (HSV-2).
“Each year, we generally treat about 10-15 cases of Chlamydia, and about 5 cases of Genital Herpes (HSV-2),” she said.
Provost said that both diseases can be caused by unprotected sex. They can both spread by anal, vaginal or oral sex.
Both diseases could be asymptomatic, meaning that no symptoms are shown. The symptoms for Chlamydia for both genders include painful urination and lower abdominal pain. In women, even in cases where symptoms aren’t apparent, Chlamydia can cause damage to the fallopian tubes and therefore lead to infertility.
There are two types of herpes that are easily confused. (HSV-1) is the virus associated with cold sores, an oral infection. (HSV-2) is the virus associated with genital infections.
The symptoms of Genital Herpes (HSV-2) for both genders, when the disease is symptomatic, include flu-like symptoms and painful blisters on the genitals.
At the Brown House, Chlamydia is tested by a urine sample, and HSV-2 is tested by blood or lesion culture.
Both diseases can lie dormant in the body for an extended period of time, and 1 in 5 people can show no symptoms and still spread the diseases.
“Chlamydia can be treated with antivirals, but there is no treatment for Genital Herpes (HSV-2). It can lie dormant in the body for years,” Provost said.
So how can we prevent these diseases? What precautions should we take?
The Brown House offers free condoms, and gives baskets to the residential halls on campus as well.
“I encourage everyone to get tested on a regular basis,”Provost said. “It’s free, and one can’t just rely on condoms, because they aren’t 100% effective.”
“The Brown House is here to help,” Provost said. “Everything here we keep
confidential. We encourage students to take accountability for their health. Safe sex isn’t a reality. Everyone takes risks. Take responsibility.”
For any questions, please call the Brown House at 802-626-6440. The Brown House is open Monday through Friday, from 8a.m. to 4p.m..