Preventing the spread of STIs

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To the Editor:

Nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur each year in the U.S. – half of those new cases occurring in people age 25 and younger. Most college students fall within this age range. When not treated, STIs can lead to serious health outcomes, like increased risk of infertility and cervical cancer. Having an STI can also increase your chances of contracting HIV.

Most people who have an STI don’t even realize it, since many STIs cause no immediate symptoms. For example, 75 percent of women and 50 percent of men with chlamydia have no symptoms.

The best way for sexually active people of any age to prevent both STIs and unintended pregnancy is to use condoms correctly and consistently along with another highly effective method of birth control, like the IUD, implant, shot or pill.

Take a moment during National Condom Week, February 14-21, to discuss with your partner whose responsibility it is to get condoms. Be open and honest about your desire to protect each other’s health.

This is one of the most important conversations you can have. Your health — and your partner’s — depends on it.

Meghan Cytacki

[email protected]