With college back in session, the NJ AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline is reminding students they can be independent and enjoy all the social activities without suffering any of the unintentional mistakes such as drug overdose, drug misuse, unplanned pregnancies, sexual assaults and STDs.
According to the Hotline, students will experiment with both drugs and alcohol, along with their sexuality. However, all this experimentation can be costly and affect their health for all time.
In just the U.S., there are about 20 million new STI cases each year; over half of them being in people between 15 and 24 years of age. While condoms help to alleviate the chances of an STI, it doesn’t protect against them completely.
The agency said for people to get the most protection, they need to use condoms effectively and for every sexual act from oral, anal and vaginal. They also stressed that Ella and Plan B methods were only good for pregnancies, not STIs or HIV.
A warning about drugs and alcohol influence was also given, as they could lower one’s ability to make sound judgments and increase their chances of engaging in high-risk behaviors. Such actions include having unprotected sex, having sex with more than one partner, having sex with an infected partner, using sex for money or drugs or sharing needles.
Every one of these behaviors can lead to STIs and HIV.
Any sexually-active person is at risk for catching an STI, even if it’s just one time. Most are spread via bodily fluids but also genital touching and drug use injections. The Hotline advised students to get tested even if they show no symptoms of having an STI.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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