April is National STD Awareness Month

Guest Column

The week-long spring break vacation many college students longed for has passed and now it is back to the books. Nonetheless, what happens on spring break doesn’t always stay on spring break. 

For some individuals, this may mean the contraction of an STD (sexually transmitted disease). For some students’ spring break vacation, they headed to a vacation hot spot where they may have been surrounded by alcohol. It is important to note that alcohol can lower self-control, and affects judgement and feelings. 

Drinking alcohol can cause individuals to take risks they wouldn’t usually take and can make it more difficult to make decisions about sex. A couple’s best intention to use condoms or other latex protection is often inhibited by their use of alcohol. If a condom is used, alcohol may cause the couple to be careless in which the condom slips or breaks.

Sex and alcohol simply do not mix and this risky combination could lead to an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. 

Not only this, but unwanted sex often occurs under the influence of alcohol. Consent to any sexual activity may NEVER be obtained if the victim is mentally incapacitated, including through the use of alcohol or drugs. To put it simply, if someone is too drunk to drive, they are too drunk to give knowing consent.

According to the National Institutes of Health, at least 50 percent of sexual assaults involve alcohol (victim, perpetrator, or both who had been drinking). It is the initiator’s responsibility to ensure there is consent. If the initiator of any sexual activity drinks too much alcohol, this DOES NOT take away the responsibility of their actions. The victim is never at fault for the sexual assault, even if the victim was also drinking alcohol.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence, contact Joan Thompson, UNI Victim Services Advocate at 319-273-2137 or [email protected] 

April is National STD Awareness Month. What a great time to know your sexual health status by getting yourself tested! Testing is easy, quick and pain- free — all you have to do is pee in a cup. For more information go to: www.gytnow.org

Still contemplating if you should get tested for STDs?  These STD facts may strengthen your decision: 

• One in two sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25. Most will not know it. The only way to find out is to get yourself tested. 

• Every year there are approximately 20 million new STD cases in the U.S. Nearly half of these cases are among young people aged 15-24. 

• Almost ALL sexually active people will get HPV at some point during their life. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

To schedule an appointment for STD testing today, contact one of the Black Hawk County STD/HIV testing centers listed below.

UNI Student Health Clinic 

1600 W. 23 St. 

Cedar Falls, IA 50614 

319-273-2009 

www.uni.edu/health

*Must be a current UNI student in order to receive services. 

*FREE gonorrhea and chlamydia testing. 

*Gardasil HPV vaccine available for women & men. 

-Black Hawk County Health Department 

-Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic 

1407 Independence Ave. 

Waterloo, IA 50703 

319-291-2413 

-Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Cedar Falls Center 

2520 Melrose Dr.

Cedar Falls, IA 50613 

877-811-7526 

800-230-7526 

www.ppheartland.org 

-Allen Women’s Health 

233 Vold Dr. 

Waterloo, IA 50703 

319-235-5090 

800-435-2640 

www.allenwomenshealth.org

-Shawna Haislet, Health Promotion Coordinator