By Daily Bruin Staff
January 27, 2003 9:00 pm
OK … so you’re in college.Â And with that comes
certain inalienable rights, such as romping about and cavorting
with attractive members of the opposite sex.
You grin as you point out that you get to do so free from the
watchful eyes of your parents, who are under the naive impression
that you pass your time hunkered down in Powell poring over your
(insert major here) textbooks.
But with this independence comes the possibility of wandering
absentmindedly into a sexual minefield.Â OK, you’ve
probably concluded that only a raging anti-sexite (yes, I am a
Seinfeld junkie) or an old fogey trying to convince you into a life
of celibacy would ever use a term like “sexual
minefield.”Â (The same type of old fogey that likes to
start sentences with “When I was your age,” followed by
physical impossibilities like “uphill both ways.”)
But unless you’re among the 17 percent of sexually active
college students who consistently practice safe sex, you’re
standing in that minefield.Â Directly in front of you,
disguised as an innocuous shrub, may be chlamydia and his doting
lackey, gonorrhea, looking to expand their turf.
According to the American College of Health Association, one in
five college students will contract a sexually transmitted disease.
To keep from becoming another statistic, you can practice the safe
sex techniques that were no-doubt beaten over your head during sex
education in high school.
Who can forget those awkward sex-ed lectures? Remember your
teacher trying to reinstate calm after the class erupted into
laughter when someone from the safety of the back row roared
While the typical college lifestyle may not be in keeping with
the safest sexual practices, there’s a lot you can do to stay
healthy and still be sexually active.
First, understand that your chance of acquiring an STD rises
exponentially with the number of partners you have. Choose partners
judiciously and avoid being blinded by the proverbial beer
Second, consistently use a latex condom for either vaginal or
anal intercourse. Don’t be shy to ask how to correctly use
them (they’re nearly 100 percent effective when used
properly) and complement with spermicidal foam to prevent an
In addition, by injecting drugs intravenously and using someone
else’s needle, a person will have, in essence, slept with
everybody the former needle-user slept with, without actually
having had sex with those people. Think about that for a
So let’s say you practice safe sex and limit your sexual
partners, yet you still contract an STD.Â How will you
If you experience a burning or stinging sensation during
urination or a genital discharge, you may have chlamydia or
gonorrhea, diseases that are usually treatable but can turn nasty
if you ignore them.
More ominously, should you notice painful sores on or around
your genitals, you may have genital herpes.Â Painless bumps
around your genitals are also reason for concern since they could
be due to a nasty virus called HPV (human papilloma virus), the
same virus that causes most cervical cancers.
Say a Mr. Paul Brane (fake student) rifles back, “Duuuude
“¦ Why you gotta bust’ my chops?Â I’ll make
love like a crazed bunny rabbit in heat without having to worry
about gloving up. If I get something, I’ll pop a few pills
and be back in action, no worse for the wear, bro.”
Most of the time, P. Brane, STDs cause no
symptoms.Â What’s worse, if you ignore the symptoms or
fail to request periodic STD screening as part of your regular
medical care, an STD infection may leave you infertile or kill
Even if you do everything right, some STDs simply aren’t
curable, meaning that you’ll be carrying infectious viral
baggage with you the rest of your life.
Of course, abstinence is the only full-proof defense against
STDs.Â But when that’s not realistic, practice safe sex
and continue to empower yourself through knowledge of the
prevention, transmission and symptoms of STDs.
The Ashe Center is here to help you do just this. You can
schedule an appointment (310-825-4073) for an STD screening,
refresh your dwindling stash of condoms, and have a funky bump or
sore checked out.
The Ashe Center even offers an e-nurse at their Web site
(https://www.studenthealth.ucla.edu/enurse/enurse.asp) for your
convenience. As a student, these services are already paid for
““ why not take advantage of them?
And one more thing.Â Steer clear of anyone who claims to
make love like a crazed bunny rabbit in heat, because they’re
probably lying. Unless, of course, that someone happens to be a Mr.
Zaghi is a first-year medical student at the UCLA David Geffen
School of Medicine and a writer for The Diagnosis, an organization
comprised of UCLA medical students. The Diagnosis was started by
second-year medical student Ronney Shantouf. Send questions,
comments, and topics you’d like addressed to
[email protected] “Your Health” will publish every
even week of winter quarter.