By Gavin Mackintosh And Sheila Mckenzie-
The advice to University students to use a condom if having sex during freshers’ week to protect themselves against record levels of gonorrhoea should extend to other STDs, as well as unwanted pregnancies.
Freshers week is the welcome period for new students starting at a UK university. It is the introductory week that affords students a chance to make friends and get to know their housemates as well as learn more about your course, campus and clubs.
Youngsters attending university are aware of the existence of diseases, but can often be reckless due to their unrestrained sexual impulses.
Diagnoses of the sexually transmitted infection have soared, and 15 to 24-year-olds are most likely to catch it, say UK health officials.
However, it is worth reminding university students that worse diseases than gonorrhea exist, and unwanted pregnancies is also an important eventuality worth avoiding for those hoping to come out of university with a degree without being forced to halt their studies prematurely.
Getting pregnant or getting a woman pregnant can potentially abort the high aspiration a student has for the future.
As university students embark on their academic journey, they often find themselves navigating a landscape filled with new experiences, challenges, and, for many, newfound independence. For some, university life may also usher in opportunities to explore their romantic and sexual desires.
However, amidst the excitement of freshers’ week and the allure of newfound freedom, there is a growing concern that needs addressing: the rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among university students, particularly gonorrhoea.
The Gonorrhoea Surge
Recent reports have highlighted a concerning surge in gonorrhoea cases, with diagnoses of this STI reaching record levels. Health officials in the UK have pointed out that 15 to 24-year-olds are most likely to contract gonorrhoea.
This worrying trend highlights the importance of educating university students about safe sex practices and the potential consequences of neglecting them.
Gonorrhoea, while treatable with antibiotics, can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
The issue is compounded by the fact that many infected individuals may not display any symptoms, unknowingly passing on the infection to their sexual partners. As such, getting tested for STIs, including gonorrhoea, is a crucial step in ensuring one’s sexual health.
Dr. Katy Sinka, head of sexually transmitted infections at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), emphasizes the importance of condoms in preventing the spread of STIs. She asserts that “condoms are the best defense against STIs” and advises students to get tested before engaging in sexual activities with new or casual partners.
This testing is not only free but also confidential, providing students with a discreet way to prioritize their sexual health.
The Freshers’ Week Dilemma
Freshers’ week, known for its lively parties and social gatherings, can be an exciting but potentially risky time for university students. It’s crucial to acknowledge that many students may choose to explore their sexuality during this period, and that’s entirely normal. However, it’s equally important to emphasize the need for responsible and safe sexual practices.
One factor contributing to the spread of STIs among university students is promiscuity.
The combination of newfound freedom, peer pressure, and the desire to fit in can lead some students to engage in casual sexual encounters. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with consensual casual sex, it becomes problematic when it occurs without adequate protection.
Moreover, university life often brings together a diverse group of individuals, some of whom may already be in committed relationships outside of the university. In such cases, the potential for infidelity can further complicate matters, increasing the risk of STI transmission.
Prioritizing Meaningful Relationships
While casual sex has its place and can be enjoyed safely with the right precautions, it’s essential for university students to remember that meaningful relationships offer more than momentary gratification.
Developing deeper connections, both emotionally and romantically, can lead to more fulfilling and satisfying experiences during your time at university.
Rather than rushing into casual encounters, university students do not often consider taking the time to get to know potential partners on a more personal level. Engage in conversations, discover shared interests, and build connections beyond the physical.
Meaningful relationships can provide emotional support, enhance your overall well-being, and offer a sense of belonging.
Effective communication plays a crucial role in university relationships, whether they are casual or long-term.
Open and honest discussions about sexual history, boundaries, and the use of protection are essential. Consent must always be explicit and enthusiastic, ensuring that all parties involved are comfortable and fully aware of their choices.
Prioritizing safe sex practices, responsible decision-making, and the development of deeper connections can lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling university experience. Remember, your health and well-being should always come first.
This article was contributed to by both authours