The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported a rise of certain STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, among college-age students. As a result, NC State’s Student Health Services is committed to treating and preventing STDs from spreading across campus.
Julie Ann Casani, director and medical director of Student Health Services, said that while cases of gonorrhea and syphilis have not been increasing overall, there has been a sharp rise of chlamydia cases among students.
According to Casani, NC State offers many services that can prevent STDs from spreading. Students who are at risk of being exposed to HIV can request a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) prescription. Student Health also offers an HPV vaccine, and students can receive up to three male condoms and one female condom a day at the center.
Student Health also offers STD screening and testing services. Students who do not want an STD screening on their insurance can choose to pay Student Health Services directly, Casani said.
According to Heather Lawson, the outreach and student engagement coordinator, student Health Services also holds various seminars about sex education. The center does not host events or public programs, but rather a residential assistant or a student organization must request one.
“Any RA can email me and request a specialized program,” Lawson said. “If it is a student organization, I will work with the leader of that org to make sure the material is what they need for that audience. I will either put together a PowerPoint presentation, or if they want to do something less formal then it would turn into a conversation.”
Although Student Health offers many services to treat and inform about STDs, students should make an effort to protect themselves from various sexually transmitted infections.
Students should wear protection when engaging in sexual activities, get screened or tested when they are sexually active and be aware about how dangerous STDs are, Casani said.
“We were seeing a lot of young women with chlamydia, and we asked a couple of them, ‘Are you using protection, or what are you doing?’” said Casani. “And the response was, ‘It is easier to get treated than to use protection.’ And that is pretty scary, because in women, sexually transmitted infections can hide and do a lot of damage before you know you have an infection.”
Students interested in learning more about NC State’s health services can visit this website.