Editorial: Get educated: conventional methods don’t always offer absolute protection

Take a stand. Be in control of your own body and future. (Megan Crothers)

Editorial Board

After years of being told to share, it seems that we are finally getting it right. We share textbooks in order to save money, and swap study tips for ultimate exam domination. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we even share our homework, which some may refer to as cheating. Perhaps there is a slight difference of opinion there.

Nonetheless, “share your toys” has been emblazoned into our skulls whether we like it or not. There are some things, though, that should never be shared: mascara, month-old leftovers, and the Ebola virus. Sexually transmitted diseases also fall into the “do not share” category for more obvious reasons than the decaying lasagna nestled in its Tupperware coffin. “Hey, just scrape the mold off and it’ll be fine,” doesn’t quite apply to someone suffering from chlamydia.

The most frightening part about an STD is that a large percentage of people who have one aren’t even aware of it. They just made the quick and irresponsible assumption that because they used a condom during their hour at the Heartbreak Hotel, no sneaky STDs stowed away in their luggage.

Common decency: fail. Condoms don’t cover the entire genital area, and some STDs are transmitted simply from skin-to-skin contact, such as the Human papillomavirus, which has become so common, it has been dubbed “the common cold of the vagina.” There are approximately 40 strains of Hpv that are sexually transmitted, and they can cause warts and, in some cases, cervical cancer.

Automatically assuming that you are clean without professional medical reassurance is just plain silly, not to mention self-destructive. You see, STDs are very “tricksy”. They invade your cells and rest for a while before their presence becomes known. Sometimes an infection will remain dormant for months before any symptoms start to show. This leaves you with an unclear perception of your general genital health because you aren’t noticing anything unusual.

Your cover has been blown. Sure, it’s great that you and your friendly friend use protection every time you’re in flagrante delicto, but you may not be as safe as you think. Infections are sneaky little monsters.

Take a stand and get yourself tested, not just for your own peace of mind, but for the health and safety of your partner. Not having enough money for a doctor visit and gallivanting around without health insurance is not a valid excuse to indulge in sweet ignorance. So man up and get tested.

The health center on campus offers low-cost testing and free condoms, and can even recommend local facilities that offer STD testing on the house.

Planned Parenthood will test for free, even if the receptionist haggles you for a donation on your way out. They will even send you away with armfuls of condoms and “personal lubricant” no matter how voraciously you resist.

We at the Lariat would like to remind you: do not forget to take these items out of your car, because it would be awkward if your next passenger found your backseat littered with sample- size bottles of Astroglide (which takes the friction out of a relationship, apparently).

In all seriousness, contracting an STD is no laughing matter. It puts multiple people in danger of formidable health risks. Getting tested is the best way to ensure complete safety for you and your partner when being intimate. Be smart, be safe, and above all, be responsible.