Advice Nerd:

Hello Skyline. I’d like to address an issue that many people at this campus put out of their minds until it strikes… the issue of sexually transmitted diseases. STD’s are everywhere, but there are things you can do to keep yourself clean. The first step is to keep yourself informed.

Pass the ClapThere’s a whole slew of free STD information pamphlets in Skyline’s Health Center located in building 2. Next time you’re in the area, why don’t you pick up a pile of them? Maybe three of each, if they’re in large supply. Then, give a pamphlet to every person you know. As you pass your pamphlet to the targeted individual, tell them you’ve just given them an STD (Herpes, HIV, Syphilis, etc.) Example:

Joe-Bob: (Gives a packet labeled ‘Chlamydia’ to his best friend Jimmy-Joe)Jimmy-Joe: “What’s this, Joe-Bob?”Joe-Bob: “Ha! I’ve just given you Chlamydia!”Jimmy-Joe: “Oh no! I’d better read this pamphlet!”

By informing your friends you will be lowering their risk for infection. If you care about your friends, you will keep them informed.

Got tested?It’s not a difficult thing to pick up your feet and head to the clinic. The San Mateo Health Department has lists of clinics and general information everyone should know about STDs. There’s even a county-sponsored Health Van that travels to various locations. Take the opportunity to stop by and get tested before work or school or your trip to the grocery store. It will be worth the minor inconvenience to know about your health and carry the information that could save your life and the lives of others around you.

AbstainAccording to the Center for Disease Control, abstinence is one of the only ways to be absolutely free of STD’s. When I say abstinence, I’m including all forms of sexual contact. Don’t go around thinking that oral and anal sex can’t get you a nasty disease, because that kind of thinking will assure you a tube of anti-itch cream for the rest of your life. Remember, there is no cure for viral STD’s such as HIV and Herpes. Sex may be fun, but the risks are high enough to encourage refrain. Don’t let one mistake kill you.

MonogamyIf you choose to be sexually active, you need to be careful who you boink. I know it’s impolite to walk up to a potential partner and ask them if they’ve got symptoms of any of the ten known STD’s, but hopefully you’re both adult enough to talk about the subject before intercourse occurs. Ask the most important question: Have you recently been tested? If the answer is no, you’ve obviously got to either be incredibly careful or simply refuse. It’s up to you to decide whether a sexual encounter is worth your whole future.

There are 19 million new cases of STD’s every year, close to half of them belonging to young adults between the ages of 15 and 24. This should convince you, if nothing else, to stay protected and stay informed. There are free condoms in the Health Center and I advise you to take advantage of their hospitality. Skyline is doing all it can to keep its students safe. It’s up to you to use the services being offered.