Racy Stacy: The importance of STD testing

Racy Stacy, Herald Reporter

Throughout four years in college, students of all majors will take countless tests. These tests usually count for a large percentage of your grade, so it’s important not to miss it. One test you should never miss, however, has nothing to do with academics. I’m talking about getting tested for STDs. 

STDs are a lot more common than people may think and it’s unfortunate that the typical first impression of someone who has an STD is somewhere along the lines of “Ew, that’s gross,” or “Wow, what a slut.” STDs have been associated with a stigma for a very long time. It is commonly thought that a person with an STD must be a “slut” or someone who sleeps around with multiple people. This is obviously not the case. You can just as easily get an STD from the first person you have sex with as the tenth person you sleep with.  

I sent out a survey to 40 RWU students, anonymously asking questions surrounding the topic of getting tested.  

When asked the question, “how often do you normally get tested?” only four responded that they get tested every few months.

Three students said they get tested every six months and 11 said they get tested every year. However, 21 students, 53.85 percent of these students, said they normally do not get tested. One student declined to answer.

Another question asked if students get tested when they have a new sexual partner. Fifty percent of the respondents said they do not.

A 21-year-old female student at RWU noted that if she were to have unprotected sex with someone, she would get tested after.

“It’s always good to take precautions,” she said. “[Getting tested] is not as bad or intimidating as it sounds and it’s definitely reassuring to have a solid answer regarding your health.”

The RWU Health and Wellness Educators (HAWEs) offered The Hawks’ Herald a statement about STDs: 

“STDs are too often a taboo in today’s culture when they really shouldn’t be. With modern technologies it is easier than ever to get a quick and minimally invasive test done regularly. If you think there is even a small risk that you may have contracted an STD, it’s worth it to get the appropriate tests done as early as possible. If it’s negative, it will give you greater peace of mind and if it’s positive, then you will know exactly what you’re working with and how to proceed. We live in a world where STDs can be readily treated or managed with the help of a medical professional, so the sooner you can identify an STD, the better it is for your overall health and wellbeing.”

I’ll be taking a short break from my column for a while, but don’t worry, I’ll be back soon.