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Davis: Get to know the rules

Health officials say sexually transmitted illnesses an actual problem at USU

staff writer

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 16:02

condoms

Taylor Murray photo

The Student Health and Wellness Center encourages students to take precautions to avoid contracting STIs.


The most common myth about sexually transmitted infections on campus is that there aren’t any cases of them, said James Davis, director for the Student Health and Wellness Center.

He said they do exist at USU and they are a problem for some demographics.

The most common STI on campus is chlamydia, followed by herpes and syphilis. There is a notable increase in the number of gonorrhea cases that are being seen state-wide.

Davis said the No. 2 myth about STIs at USU is that people don’t need to have sex to get infected with a sexually transmitted illness.

“Sex means a lot of things to a lot of people, and you can have STI transmission through foreplay,” Davis said. “You can have STI transmission through contact with objects that are used in a sexual connotation. A variety of contact can lead you to an STI including oral contact, manual contact; all you need to transmit an STI is a moist floor or a moist surface.”

Getting tested for STIs is a dynamic process because people can become infected with things like HIV and not show signs of the it for six months regardless if they have been tested, Davis said. With some other treatable STIs, people can still pass them along up to 14 days after their treatment.

“It’s really important that someone is continuing to be tested and treated,” said Matthew Mietchen, an HIV and STD epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health.

Andrew Swensen, a junior studying English, said he is an advocate for how important it is to get tested through a club on campus called Voices for Planned Parenthood, or VOX, which he is the president of. The group sets up a table periodically around the TSC and informs people about sex. People at the table also hand out supplies.

“We also have a lot of information about how to get tested, where you should get tested, why you should get tested, how often you should get tested,” Swensen said.

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