Recent news reported a record high in the United States for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Reports from the Center of Disease Control show a rise in gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis, making the US number one with the highest STD rates in the industrialized world according to David Henry, director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.
In 2017 alone, preliminary data released by the CDC revealed almost 2.3 million cases of STDs’ and STIs, an increase of nearly 200,000 compared to data collected in 2016. However, the transmission of these diseases spiked annually for four consecutive years, the first major spike occurring in 2014 with syphilis.
In 2018, this news is more important now than ever and it seems like the US is in urgent need of STD/STI prevention and awareness. Youth and young adults face higher risks of contracting such diseases and Grambling State University has taken its first step of the semester in ensuring the intimate safety of its’ students.
On Aug. 30 the Favrot Student Union Board held their second sex talk of the week, “Boys, Sex and Chocolate” in the Black & Gold Room. Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Ponton, affectionately known as ‘Coach P’, and Tundra Turner, the Healthy Relationship Coordinator at the Student Counseling and Wellness Resource Center accompanied the board and spoke to students on the increasing dangers of unsafe sex and unhealthy relationships.
The event began with a game simulating with candy just how fast and easy it is to encounter an STD. Next, everyone helped themselves to more candy, refreshments, and condoms courtesy of Trojan and the Foster Johnson Clinic on campus. With refreshments consumed and condoms collected, an honest, and reasonably uncomfortable conversation about sex ensued. Ms. Turner shared her experiences as a counselor here on campus.
The prevalence of STD/STIs on this campus she says, is nothing new. She and Coach P spoke on both men and women who’ve suffered the consequences of promiscuity and toxic relationships. Even after all my years on campus and how much I’ve grown used to the campus lifestyle, it was still shocking to hear how often females were the culprits of this growing epidemic.
In issues like these, we are always painted as the victim, blaming men for human mistakes in a region where women are capable of being more vindictive and cutthroat than men. It was surprising to hear Ms. Turner recall hearing a girl ask, “Why should I care?” After passing on what someone knowingly gave to her, or watching young men ball their eyes out in her office because of girls like the one mentioned above. Even more frightening is the fact that many students don’t know they’re carrying such diseases, find unprotected sex better than protected sex, and have either never been tested or don’t get tested regularly between partners. There were even some participants in the audience who’ve expressed that they have never been tested though having unprotected sex was something they enjoyed. In a judge free zone, I’m not one to judge, but I definitely sent some sideways glances across the room…shoot me.
All in all, there was a lot to take away from the panel and this discussion. Attendance could have been better being that the rise in sexually transmitted diseases and infections affects the African American community at higher rates than any other race in the United States, but that goes to show how important sex education is to those who don’t know much about sex and all that it comes with, both physical and emotional. Ladies, do better. Being vindictive is no excuse for ruining a life. Be careful and be mindful. We are affected more than men. Gentlemen, raw sex is great and all, but too much of good thing can kill you, and if it doesn’t do that, you’ll have a lot to live with if you don’t take the necessary steps to being free of such infections.
To everyone, we can all do better. Practice safe sex by using condoms, and birth control methods, get tested regularly and don’t be ashamed to discuss these things with all or at least most of your partners. Safe sex is the best sex.