You, me and sex—let’s talk about it

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UNLV's Women's center located in the SSC building on campus. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

As temperatures continue to drop in Las Vegas, one way people are staying warm is through sex. While sex does in fact keep people warm, there are some risks to this natural aspect of human life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the annual cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States steadily climbed upwards in 2019.

So, why are cases rising so much? Perhaps people are not aware that they have contracted these STDs because they do not see symptoms. Maybe they trust their partner a little too much to think they could ever contract it.

Whatever the reason may be, getting tested is the best option while being sexually active, whether you have one partner or multiple. It is the safest thing to do and you should not feel shame for wanting to take care of your health.

If you are able to identify when an STD is present in your body, you can then take the necessary steps to control it, such as taking medication, abstaining from sex until the STD is gone and informing any partner that you have been sexually active within the last six months.

“Being open and honest is the best thing,” said Kourtney Buhler, a nurse from the Student Wellness Center. “It never hurts to be tested between partners to ensure nothing is being spread. Being honest about sexual history is important. Be true about your comfort levels so both parties are content and feel safe in the relationship.

“It is much better to ask your partner to get tested before intercourse than to end up having to be treated for one because you are uncomfortable to breach the subject. If someone is not willing to be honest with you or talk about STDs, you may want to be with someone who is better at communicating.”

One thing to remember is that when contracting an STD, it does not make you dirty or disgusting. STDs are actually very common. In the U.S. alone, over 20 million new cases are reported each year, ranging from people aged 15-24 years old. 

With the amount of STD cases a year, especially among young adults, nobody should be making you feel bad about contracting one. It does not make you any less of a person. There is also medication to either get rid of an STD or control it.

Many people ages 15 to 24 years old are college students. Thankfully, UNLV has taken steps to help their students during these times. Located on campus across the Carol C. Harter Classroom Building Complex (CBC) is what was formerly known as the Women’s Care Center, now known as the Care Center.

“We serve people regardless of identity, but we are an anti-violence center.” said Margaret Campe, director of the Care Center. “That is actually one reason we changed our name, to be more inclusive.”

Students can find resources of all sorts at the Care Center, including zines to help you in your healing phase, confidential services to speak to someone for help, and even providing sources to obtain an easy at-home STD testing kit.

The Student Wellness Center also offers great resources as well, such as traditional STD testing, HIV testing and wellness exams for female and male students.

With all these resources readily available to students, do not be discouraged from wanting to use these services as they are here to help you. Do not let anyone make you feel bad for something as natural and normal as having sex, and more importantly, the risks that can happen to anyone while being sexually active.

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