Ben, a Boise State sophomore construction management major, said he doesn’t have any sexually transmitted diseases (STD) but he has a couple of friends who do.
Ben preferred to remain anonymous for personal reasons.
“Some guys I know don’t like to use condoms and don’t really think about it too much, until they got something (a STD),” Ben said.
Ben doesn’t worry about STDs because he practices safe sex, even though he’s not in a monogamous relationship.
“I like to use protection,” Ben said. “And when I’m in a relationship it’s protected too.”
Dr. Vincent Serio, medical director for University Health Services, said chlamydia is the most common STD the Boise State Health Center sees, along with gonorrhea.
Although they do see high rates of HPV (human papillomavirus), which he explained was actually the most common STD, but it appears less than chlamydia due to its lack of laboratory screening for HPV.
Serio said stereotypically speaking, one might expect college rates to be higher than the national average of STDs, but they’re really not.
“HPV is probably the most common disease worldwide that’s sexually transmitted,” Serio said. “HIV and Syphilis are very uncommon in college settings.”
Serio said there’s going to be two situations in which a student would go into the health center to talk about STDs.
“One is (a diagnostic situation), they’re going to have some type of symptom,” Serio said. “The second scenario is (a screening proposition) the student that doesn’t have any symptoms at all and just ‘wants to know.’”
According to Serio, people should do everything they can to prevent the diseases that are preventable.
“HPV is probably the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide and it’s also the only one in which there’s a vaccine to prevent,” Serio said. “So the first thing on your list should be getting a HPV vaccine. That’s for both men and women, from the ages of 9 to 27.”
Serio listed the second preventative method as barrier protection.
“Most of the other STDs are transmitted through skin-to-skin, intimate contact with the genitals,” Serio said. “Using a condom is a very effective way of preventing most of those types of sexually transmitted diseases. They’re not 100 percent affective but they’re really the best next step that’s available. Abstinence is the only surefire way of preventing a sexually transmitted disease.”
Though students at Boise State like Ben haven’t practiced abstinence, Ben explained he’s never come across someone that argued about using protection, but if he did he would definitely have to talk about it.
He also discussed the number of sexual partners he has.
“I would say two or three in a month,” Ben said.
According to Ben, all his partners know he has others and are okay with it. Ben admitted he and his friends hookup with other students, coworkers, friends that don’t attend school, at parties, or where ever they can.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are students who are very cautious.
Bre Clifford, sophomore communication major, said she’s been in a monogamous relationship for five years.
“Before we were sexually active we went and got tested together and because it was just after I had broken up with somebody, we went and got tested again a few months later,” Clifford said. “And we’re both good to go.”
Clifford said they still practice safe sex though, because they are not ready for a STD or a baby.
She believes most people are promiscuous on campus and although she doesn’t personally know someone with a STD. She has heard there are people on campus with one. Clifford offered advice for other students around campus.
“Practice safe sex,” Clifford said. “We don’t need STDs or babies.”