Check yourself before you wreck yourself (and others)

The Penn spent the last few weeks researching and surveying Indiana University of Pennsylvania students and faculty to gauge the prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

We distributed a randomized survey to 1,000 undergraduate students, spoke with IUP’s Center for Health and Well-Being, spoke with other state schools and even interviewed a student who was diagnosed with human papillomavirus.

While we did not get the desired amount of survey results (99 out of the 1,000 distributed responded), we were able to at least take the first step with quantifying an important issue for IUP students.

What we found through our survey is that 14 percent of respondents either have or had an STI. For more information on the study, see Page 1 and 3.

While the severity of physical side effects varies depending on the disease or infection, contracting an STI can be uncomfortable, liable to spread to others or even deadly.

But the most responsible move to take individually is to know for yourself if you are STI free – and if you have an STI and knowingly have unprotected sex, you are liable to the person you spread the disease to and can be charged in most states in the U.S. for reckless endangerment (including Pennsylvania, folks).

In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed different ways to prevent STIs – through education, abstinence, vaccination, mutual monogamy, reduced number of sex partners and condoms.

The Penn’s source, Carrie (junior, nutrition), who was diagnosed with HPV in February 2014, commented on the prevalence of STIs on our campus and in today’s culture.

“You’re in college, you feel like you’re invincible, but you’re not,” Carrie said. “Even if you’re in a relationship with somebody, and they tell you things, you can’t trust anybody right now because STIs are so prevalent in our society as a whole.”

So, protect yourself, protect others and know where you stand as far as your own diagnosis goes.