Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Redhawk Health Educators increase sexual health awareness throughout campus

Thursday, October 3, 2019
Graphic by Ally Bruemmer

One in four college students has a sexually transmitted disease, according to nursingschools.net.

Redhawk Health Educators at Southeast held a fair focusing on sexual health in the University Center program lounge Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Professionals at the fair administered testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and passed out free condoms and other items related to sexual health, including information regarding safe sex and healthy relationships.

According to Redhawk Health Educator Andi Perera, students who attended the event, filled out the questionnaire and were allowed to receive up to 10 items.

Nineteen million new sexually transmitted diseases occur each year and almost half of them are amongst 15 to 24 year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although, sexually transmitted diseases and infections are prevalent, noticeable symptoms may not be.

In fact, no noticeable symptoms will appear among 80% of people who have a sexually transmitted disease, according to nursingschools.net.

Graphic by Ally Bruemmer

“I know that SEMO in the past has had relatively high numbers of chlamydia and some of the students found out by going to the fair and going through the free STD testing process that we have,” Perera said.

The event focused on prevention and helping those affected to find treatment options.

“That’s why we have the STD testing with this event so that people can find out if they do have an STI or STD, and that way, they can seek treatment for it so it doesn’t become worse,” Perera said.

The Redhawk Health Educators hoped students at the fair would gain knowledge about their bodies, safe sex practices and different methods of birth control and contraceptives.

“We think offering free safe sex information and contraceptives here at SEMO is good because you don’t have to go to a clinic,” Perera said. “It gives students an opportunity to get these items for free because testing can be expensive.” Perera said.

Perera said there are a variety of ways students are affected by having a sexually transmitted disease or not knowing their status. She mentioned having a sexually transmitted disease is a big deal because untreated STDs can cause health issues down the line.

“By having measures like this event to gain knowledge about prevention, it definitely helps lower the stress of it all,” Perera said. “When it is caught early, the sooner you catch it, the easier it is to treat it. The longer you have it and don’t know about it, not only are you risking your sexual health but also your partner’s.”

For more information about STD and STI testing, you can contact the Redhawk Health Educators at https://semo.edu/peered/.

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