Not Everybody’s Doing It (But How to Stay Protected If You Are!)

1 Oct

College students are often bombarded with statistics regarding their sexual activity. Are you like the majority of students who dismiss what you read?  Do the typical facts presented hold true in your life or do you find the “facts” seem skewed?  The majority of us have been getting information about practicing safe sex thrown at us starting in grade school, so it’s hard not to ignore any new information that comes our way.

Instead of wasting time searching for more mundane statistics to provide to our readers, I decided to go beyond the typical college student resource of Google and speak with a Wellness Center representative at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  In all honesty, I was a bit nervous to go into the Wellness Center at first.  I did not want to be the awkward student looking at pamphlets while the employees stared at me or even worse- judged me!  Also, I feared others would view me as a sex fiend who was just coming in to grab all the free condoms and lube the office had to offer!  Surprisingly, the experience was not bad at all.  Not only was the staff was friendly and knowledgeable, but they actually welcomed me into the office.  I’m sure they understand that a lot of students hold the same viewpoint I had before visiting the Wellness Center.  I told the receptionist about my initial concerns about visiting the center and she jokingly replied, “We aren’t judging students for coming into the Wellness Center.  Get some information.  Take some free condoms and lube- it’s there for a purpose and meant to be taken by our students.”  Hearing her say that was a huge relief!

The Wellness Center provided standard brochures like “Discovering Your Body” and “Sexually Transmitted Diseases.”  However, there were also more interesting ones that related directly to college age students, go figure.  Looking back, I’m actually happy that I dragged myself to the Wellness Center, because I would have never have found out some hard hitting facts.

  1. Ladies, for your birth control to be 99.7% effective like it says on the package, you MUST take it every day within a 30 minute window.

Each active pill’s hormones are only preventing you from ovulating for a maximum of 24 hours.  Increase the time between your daily pills and you increase your chances of becoming pregnant.  Put a reminder in your phone; write it in your planner.  Be safe and responsible by getting yourself in the habit of taking the pill at the same time every day.

2.Mess with the time you take your birth control each day and the pill you think has a 99.7% effectiveness really only has an effectiveness of 92%.

That means you have an 8% chance of becoming pregnant each time you have sex.  Seriously ladies, take your birth control at the same time each day to minimize that chance of becoming pregnant.  8% might seem like a small number, but it is not when it concerns your future and a possible child’s life.

3.Consuming alcohol lowers your body’s ability to ward off infections.

Not only does this increase your chances of catching a cold, but it also means you can have a greater chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.  Think about it- say you have a little alcohol in your system and are feeling frisky.  It’s possible that you and your partner might put the condom on incorrectly or even at all.  In fact, I found out that 70% of sexually active college students admit to having sex while intoxicated and one in five individuals who normally use protection do not when they have sex after drinking.  This supports another statistic I found which explains 60% of sexually active college females who report having an STD contracted the disease in a drunken sexual encounter.

4.STDs can have an incubation period of six months.

This means that from the time you get some STDs like HIV, it might take up to six months to show symptoms (if you contract an STD that shows any symptoms at all.)  Get yourself tested to keep you and your partner safe.

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before, but please take your sexual health seriously and practice safe sex to keep yourselves and your partner healthy.

For UIC students, don’t be shy to check out the Wellness Center located in Student Center East.  Visit the website for details on hours, services offered (like free, confidential STD testing and free condoms) and programs offered.

For Loyola students, visit the Wellness Center located in the Doyle Center on the Lakeshore Campus.  Operating hours and links to resources are available on the website.

For DePaul students, visit the Wellness Center at the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center on the Lincoln Park Campus.  Hours, services offered and more information is available on the website.

If you don’t go to these colleges or want an off-campus option to learn about sexual health and get free resources, the city of Chicago has some drop in Specialty STD clinics which offer free condoms and free STD screening.  Check the website for locations, hours and available services.

Have more resources that you want to share?  Leave a comment!

– Ashley


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