STDs: be informed, stay protected

Cynthia Denne, director of student health services, says the Health Center offers a variety of resources to all University of La Verne students, including STD testing and complimentary condoms. She encourages all students to visit the center for regular check-ups. The Health Center is located at 2147 E Street, and services are free to undergraduates. / by Conor Holahan
Cynthia Denne, director of student health services, says the Health Center offers a variety of resources to all University of La Verne students, including STD testing and complimentary condoms. She encourages all students to visit the center for regular check-ups. The Health Center is located at 2147 E Street, and services are free to undergraduates. / photo by Conor Holahan

Shavonne Rogers
Staff Writer

It is common for students at the University of La Verne to be tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease according to Cynthia Denne, director of student health services.

“Every week someone is tested positive,” Denne said.

Denne said there is a lot of information on campus about STDs but La Verne students think they are protected from them.

The Health Center offers informational pamphlets on sexually transmitted diseases, and they are available free for students who have any questions about STDs.

The Health Center educates students on what an STD is, how it is spread, what to do and what to watch for. In addition, they offer free testing and treatments to all students.

Christy McCarthy, junior English major, said students may be embarrassed to have a conversation because of the stereotypes about having an STD.

“A stereotype would be that they are promiscuous, but as students we have the freedom to explore our sexuality,” McCarthy said.

Melissa Carol, sophomore business major, explained another stereotype that many people have about STDs.

“Once you get one, you’re dirty for life,” she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, “Nearly half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) diagnosed each year are among young people aged 15–24 years. About 1 in 4 of all new HIV infections is among youth ages 13 to 24 years.”

“STD Facts,” the pamphlet created by the Education, Training, and Research Company, said an STD can be spread during close, sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex.

According to the research, some STDs are spread by contact with infected blood, and most STD germs need to live in a warm, moist area, which is why they are found in the mouth, rectum and sex organs.

Before having sex, students should look closely at their partner for any signs of STDs: rash, a sore or discharge.

Terrence Robinson, freshman criminology and psychology major, said examining partners is unrealistic because students are not paying attention to anything but the moment.

“I think it is a heat of the moment thing. People are more focused on getting it on than, ‘Oh, are we safe,’” Robinson said.

Health Center employees spread information through the housing office, their website provides health guidance, and nurses on campus talk to all incoming freshmen about STDs and emphasize the free treatments available at the Health Center.

The University also offers classes to students about sex and health.

Yesenia Vargas, sophomore anthropology major, said that she is not worried about becoming sexually active.

“I have the resources if I needed them; the Sex, Drugs and Health Education class that I am taking and the Health Center,” Vargas said.

Anyone who has these symptoms, concerns or questions should stop having sex and go to an STD clinic, doctor or the Health Center to get checked out.

Shavonne Rogers can be reached at shavonne.rogers@laverne.edu.

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