Gonorrhea epidemic should spur STD testing

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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

An epidemic has been declared in Butte County.

Three hundred cases of gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease, were reported in 2014. This is more than double the number of cases that were reported in 2013.

It is considered an epidemic because of the dramatic increase of cases in such a short amount of time.

In 2012, only 69 cases reported.

About half of those infected were people between the ages of 14 and 25.

Given that the majority of Chico State students are between the ages of 18 and 22, it’s likely, if not probable, that some of these cases are Chico State students.

What is this, the ’80s?

Contracting the clap, a common slang term for gonorrhea, is completely preventable by abstaining from sex.

But given the age of most Chico State students, abstaining from sex is unlikely, and for some, impossible.

However, wearing a condom is a simple solution that can reduce, although not fully eliminate, the risk of transmitting STDs.

And guess what?

The Student Health Center gives them out for free.

So does the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center.

The center also provides non-latex condoms for students who may be allergic.

That gives students few valid excuses to not use condoms.

But don’t condoms make sex less enjoyable?

No, they don’t.

A nationwide American study found that men and women found safe sex to be just as “highly arousing and pleasurable” as unprotected sex.

There is little reason why a person would forgo using a condom and risk contracting an STD, especially given that there are an estimated 19 million new infections in the U.S. every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Condoms seem like a much better alternative to genital, throat or rectum infections, all of which can be caused by gonorrhea.

And if untreated, it can also cause sterility.

Gonorrhea is largely symptom-free.

So even if someone’s genitals don’t burn when they pee, they could still have gonorrhea.

If students have had one or more sexual partners, they are responsible for getting tested and for encouraging their partners to get tested.

Nearly 20 clinic options in Chico are available for students to receive testing, and some are free.

It is important for Chico State students to be informed about sex education.

It is always possible for a sexually active individual to contract an STD, even if they use a condom.

No one is invincible.

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