May 24, 2010
"One in two sexually active young people will get an STD by 25. Most won't know it."
It's the focus of a recent ad by Get Yourself Tested (GYT), a national informational campaign promoting testing and treatment among young adults for sexually transmitted infections (STI's). It's also fodder for a new OHIO website, dedicated to educating the campus community on STI's.
OHIO's STI site is the most recent addition to Ohio University's HealthAlerts series -- which aims to proactively empower the university community with knowledge and resources to address the critical, less-talked-about health and safety issues facing today's college students, faculty and staff. In addition to providing information on infectious diseases, the website focuses on prevention and treatment of STI's and points students to local testing facilities.
To view OHIO's STI site, visit www.ohio.edu/healthalerts/sti/.
Among all STI's, chlamydia has been of particular concern at Ohio University's Student Health Services in recent months due to a slightly elevated number of diagnoses, said Director of Nursing Karen Robinson.
As of May 1, Hudson Health Center had reported 13 chlamydia diagnoses for the quarter - already exceeding its winter quarter totals by two cases. According to Robinson, this could be the result of increased incidence or it could be that more students are seeking out STI screenings.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STI in the United States. More than 2.29 million non-institutionalized U.S. civilians ages 14-39 are infected with the condition, based on the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. But under-reporting is substantial because most people with chlamydia are not aware of their infections and do not seek testing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Though chlamydia is often absent of symptoms, it can cause irreversible damage to a woman's reproductive organs, including infertility. But when properly diagnosed, chlamydia can be easily cured with one of two antibiotic treatments, according to Robinson. CDC recommends yearly chlamydia testing of all sexually active women age 25 or younger.
"It just doesn't hurt to get tested," said Robinson. "A person has to take responsibility for protecting themselves and their partners. Getting tested is one of the most effective prevention tools that we have."
Complete information on STI tests offered at Hudson Health Center is included on OHIO's STI Health Alerts website. The website also contains answers to frequently asked questions, links to disease information and additional resources.
OHIO's STI website supports ongoing efforts by the Division of Student Affairs to raise awareness about STI's and encourage STI testing among sexually active members of the campus community. The initiative complements a university-wide commitment to transparency and education regarding health issues of public concern.
The launch of OHIO's STI site coincides with the university's HIV/AIDS Awareness Week. Coordinated by the Health Promotion Department and POWER, OHIO's peer health education group, the series of events run May 17-21.
For more information on HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, including a schedule of events, click here.