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SEX!

Now that we've got your attention, here's what you need to know

 by Nicolle Fuggs
 published on Thursday, September 14, 2006


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Genital lesions, discharge and burning sensation.

Do these words make you squirm in your seat?

If you think that because you get regular checkups and "usually" wear condoms you'll avoid ever having to use these words in reference to yourself, think again, says Freddy Roman, assistant director of Wellness and Health Promotion.

Roman says, safe-sex practices and STD tests are the main sex-health issues that students need to know more about.

"The biggest concern we have is that students aren't talking about it," she says. "There is a stigma that this society has about STDs. If we had more open discussion, it would increase education."

Stopping by ASU's Campus Health Service can be the answer to a wide range of sexual-health questions.

Other than providing general information about STD testing and birth control, Roman believes there are other things students should know that may not be in sex-education brochures.

For instance, many young men and women assume that if their doctor checks their genital area in a regular exam, then they do not have a STD, Roman says. But this is not always the case.

"If they don't ask for specific exams, most times doctors don't check," she says.

In addition, diseases like chlamydia and herpes don't have visible symptoms. With HIV, a person can go 10 years without having any symptoms.

Another misconception many students have is about safe sexual practices.

"They think they're protected when they are not," says Dr. Stefanie Schroeder, chief of medical staff and interim director of Campus Health Service.

Many women feel safer when they are on birth control, but they forget about STDs, Roman says.

Using condoms and birth control increases protection during sex, she says. But using condoms consistently and correctly is a skill students need to master, including during oral sex.

Condoms available for free at the Condom Corner table set up once a week near the Memorial Union, or 50 cents at the condom machines in the first-floor bathrooms at all residence halls, the Campus Health Service building, Matthews Hall and the Student Recreation Complex.

Condoms are not 100 percent effective, especially if they are not used 100 percent of the time, Roman says. That's why Campus Health Service offers an array of services like counseling, emergency contraceptives, education, STD testing and more.

The health center is located at the southwest corner of the Palm Walk footbridge and University Drive.

Schroeder says most students who visit the health center on a sexual issue usually want to get screened for STDs.

Having yourself or your partner get tested "is not about trusting your partner," says Roman. "It's about trusting your partner's previous partners."

Most doctors recommend a blood test for HIV and syphilis and a urine test for chlamydia and gonorrhea totaling $124.

The cost of a clear conscience: priceless.

Reach the reporter at: nicolle.fuggs@asu.edu.



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