By Amanda Zive
Condom use among young people declines as they go through college, coinciding with a rise in sexual activity, according to a new study done by the Oxford Journal.
The lack of condom usage among students is due to lack of education about contraceptives, possibly starting at the high school level. According to some reports, many schools are no longer informing students about how to obtain condoms.
Students provided with a typical health class are more likely to use birth control, but this type of education does not affect how likely they are to use condoms, a study at Colorado Mesa University by Steven R. Murray and Jessica L. Miller found.
The conclusion was that student motivations dictate what they consider to be safe sex, and they often forget all the risks involved.
This may be due to the emphasis on unwanted pregnancies made by focusing on abstinence over contraception methods.
Societal pressures from friends and family and how the media portrays pregnancies on shows like Teen Mom can make teens worry about having babies but not other issues.
“It is troubling that a higher percentage of students is not choosing to use condoms to prevent STDs; it seems that more students are concerned with preventing pregnancy than the spreading of STDs,” Miller and Murray wrote.
Safe sex doesn’t just mean preventing pregnancy, the study says.
That kind of emphasis is necessary in the battle against STDs.
Since 1992 the instances of chlamydia for Americans have nearly doubled. Although chlamydia is not life threatening, it can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant later, and usually goes undiagnosed and untreated because of the lack of obvious symptoms.
One reason students don’t use condoms may be because they feel like they know their partner well enough, said Santa Ana College Health Educator Christina Duong.
“When having sexual intercourse with people from their own school, because they are peers, and the thought is ‘Oh, they go to my school, they’re like me, we have things in common, so it must be OK,’” Duong said.
The most popular response for not using a condom is confidence in a partner’s sexual history, according to a study conducted by the Durex condom brand. But the Center for Disease Control reports many STDs go undetected by the carrier.
Despite a rise in STDs, there are ways for students to overcome this troubling trend. Individuals should take responsibility for their own sexual health by protecting themselves and their partners.
“All parties involved are equally responsible for condom usage and practicing safe sex,” Duong cautioned.
“Sexually active women can carry condoms in their purse for when the occasion strikes.”