STD prevention is a simple process

Column by Jordan Covvey

Sex is always an interesting topic. It has been used to sell everything from alcohol to perfume, it has been the theme underlying law suits, federal and state legislation, and is inevitably the subject of a very awkward discussion between a teenager and his or her parents.

What started out many years ago as a private topic of discussion has turned into an open and public forum. In some sense, this frank attitude we have adopted with sex has made important information more readily available, but at the same time, has perhaps dimmed the gravity of its consequences.

In recent studies, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, with nearly half of them happening to people between the ages of 15 and 24. Approximately one out of every four college students has a sexually transmitted disease, a statistic that should make you think twice. Think of your three best friends and hope you aren’t the unlucky one.

Sadly enough, it really doesn’t have anything to do with luck. Every person who chooses to be sexually active has the tools to protect themselves, and yet research suggests that young adults only use condoms around 50 percent of the time. Often the reason cited for a lack of condom use is reduced sensation. It amazes me that almost one out of every two people is willing to risk a seemingly endless list of infections for a little more friction.

Let’s remember that while all sexually transmitted infections are treatable, not all are curable. And this still hinges on the chance that you get tested and treated.

Many infections have no symptoms, meaning you or your partner may feel and look fine, but still be infected. Antibiotics can work wonders on chlamydia or gonorrhea when detected. But herpes, genital warts and HIV

will become a part of who you are for the rest of your life.

When you start dating someone new, it’s exciting to sit down to dinner and learn new things about him or her. Think about how you might break the news that you have herpes. I can guess that it’s not quite as easy as the Valtrex commercials might portray — a smiling couple, hand-in-hand, one saying, “I have genital herpes,” and their partner saying, “And I still don’t.”

Life isn’t a 30-second television spot. Considering that the average adult engages in sexual activity 127 times each year, according to, this topic will probably require consideration every three days for a decent portion of your life. Fortunately, you have good odds at staying healthy by following standard and

important advice.

First, remember that the only 100 percent effective means of avoiding sexually transmitted infections is to abstain from sexual activity. If you do choose to engage in sexual activity, use protection every single time. Next, the only way to know if you are healthy is to get tested, and to get tested often. And last, don’t mix sex with drugs or alcohol. Mature and healthy decisions require clear judgment.

Remember, things could be worse. Prior to the 19th century, condoms were made out of a variety of materials, including tortoise shells, animal horns and lamb intestines. Another prototype included a chemical-soaked linen secured with ribbon. I’d say we have it pretty good nowadays.