STD testing critical for student population

Assistant Opinions Editor | Journalism Sophomore

Sexually active students must responsible by periodically being tested for STDs.

The fact of the matter is people, including college students, have sex. I do not think this generation is as lust-filled as older generations seem to believe, but there is a decent amount of sex going on. There is no way to stop college students from engaging in sex all together. However, students must be proactive about taking care of their sexual health needs.

It is baffling to me how many people are perfectly fine with speaking openly about their sexcapades but curl into a ball and turn beet red the minute I bring up testing. I am not here to slut-shame in any way, shape or form, but if someone can tell me about their weird kinks in the middle of a dining hall over waffles, they should not be embarrassed about getting tested.  

Getting tested can understandably be a scary thing, especially if someone has made questionable decisions regarding sex in the past. People make mistakes, and learning from them is what makes us human. Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for one’s actions. Imagine if one regretful hookup with that weird guy named Tyrone ends up being more of a burden than the awkward possibility of running into him on campus.

However, students should not have to go through the process of sitting in a waiting room by themselves, wondering if a one-night stand will have a permanent effect on their life. The anxiety of getting tested for the first time can be lessened by bringing along a supportive and non-judgmental friend.

Getting tested frequently improves the likelihood of catching any diseases before they get worse.

There are several testing places around San Marcos. The Student Health Center on campus does testing for a myriad of STDs, and offers anonymous HIV testing. If running into someone from school is a concern, there are two health clinics off campus that provide STD testing as well. In addition, there are three Planned Parenthood clinics in Austin, six in San Antonio and one in Waco. Students cannot use a lack of clinics as an excuse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of the 20 million new STDs diagnosed every year are in patients aged 15-24. Many STDs, like Bobcat Bumps (herpes), often do not exhibit warning signs or can have delayed reactions. This means a student or their partner could unknowingly have an infection they are passing around right now. There are an alarming 1 in 5 people living with HIV in the United States who do not know they are positive. I am not trying to be dramatic and scare anyone, but students need to be aware. STDs are more prevalent in the lives of sexually active people than we realize.

The bottom line is getting tested is about responsibility. Sexually active students have a responsibility to themselves and their partners to make sure everything is running smoothly under the hood. If students are not responsible enough to practice safe sex and get tested periodically, they should not be having sex at all.