Students warned of STDs

By Julie Zvitkovits

Ten percent of NIU students might have a sexually transmitted disease.

“Probably one out of every ten NIU students is affected with a sexually transmitted disease,” said Steven Lux, health educator at NIU’s Health Enhancement Services.

Abstinence is the only 100 percent positive way to prevent STDs, according to a Health Enhancement flier.

For students who are sexually active, “assume any and every contact places you at risk,” Lux said.

“Prevention is the focus” because once an STD is contracted, it can remain for a lifetime, Lux said.

“Often symptoms are not exhibited and the victim is unaware of the disease unless tested,” he said. Once the STD is diagnosed, it can be controlled, yet there is always a chance for it to reappear, he said.

The most common STD at NIU is condyloma, or genital warts, Lux said. These might not be visible and, if untreated, can spread, according to Health Enhancement literature. It is the fastest growing STD on college campuses and has been linked to cervical cancer, according to the flier.

Chlamydia is another common STD on campus, Lux said. Chlamydia is often only diagnosed through testing because 80 percent of women and 10 percent of men affected do not experience symptoms, the flier stated.

Between three and 10 million people are infected with Chlamydia every year, the flier reported.

The United States Public Health Service offers two guidelines to protect against STDs, including reducing the number of sexual partners and “consistent use of condoms to reduce transmission.”

To avoid STDs, people should limit involvement to monogomous relationships with uninfected persons, according to the health service.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in September 1988 that 2.5 million teenagers are infected with STDs each year.

“About one-third of college men and women will lie about past sexual experiences,” Lux said.

Condoms containing Nonoxynol-9 are recommended and diaphragms offer some protection against STDs, according to the Health Enhancement Services flier.

Despite this factor, the flier states that before engaging in any sexual activity both partners should know about the others sexual history.