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Health Services reports STDs on campus

Submitted by KenDrell Collins on April 4, 2013 – 11:57 am2 Comments

The UALR Health Services Department reported that it has conducted 230 screenings for sexually transmitted diseases since March of 2012.

Among those screened, 72 positive STD cases were detected. There were five major diseases reported: chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HIV and trichomoniasis.

Exactly 40 cases of chlamydia were reported; the highest among the four. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention chlamydia is most common STD in the nation. It is easily curable and the CDC advises sexually active women near the age of 25 to be checked annually.

Genital herpes and trichomoniasis tied in the number of cases reported with 11 apiece.  Trichomoniasis, sometimes referred to as “trich,” is among the most common of the curable STDs. Those with the disease are infected with Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoan parasite. As for herpes, no cure currently exists, but there are treatments available.

Eight cases of gonorrhea were identified over the past year. Getting tested for gonorrhea is particularity important since men or women who are infected with the bacterium may not experience symptoms, according to the CDC.

The Health Services screening program identified two cases of HIV infections during the past year, but no cases of AIDS.

Marie Sandusky, Director of Health Services, said that peak times during the year for getting tested were at the beginning of the spring and fall semesters,

Generally, Sandusky said, people get tested either have symptoms, are curious or are entering a new relationship.

“It is important to make conscious, careful decisions about who a person chooses to have sex with,” said Sandusky. “If a couple decides to become sexually involved, they need to have a conversation about risk factors and past experiences that may have put them at risk of having a STD.”

She also warned students to be aware of the “window period.” Since most STDs take at least two weeks to appear after exposure, a person may falsely think that they do not have an STD if they are tested within this time frame.

“I also advise all students under the age of 26 to get vaccinated against the STD human papillomavirus,” Sandusky said. The vaccine protects individuals from most forms HPV, an STD that can result in genital warts and cervical cancer.

Sandusky’s best advice to students is to practice safe sex by consistent condom use. Health Services provides free condoms to visitors and also offers treatment, family planning, and screening for all STDs. The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located across from the campus bookstore in room 102 of the Donaghey Student Center.