In 2016, Clemson University determined that the number of students at the school that were HIV positive had increased so much that the decision was made to hand out free condoms on campus. In spring of that year many students tested positive for HIV, prompting the decision to offer the condoms starting in the fall semester.
It was reported that the school conducted an average of 1000 HIV tests each year but that that only one of them had come back positive. During the spring semester where students were tested, nine cases of HIV were reported. It was believed that these cases of HIV had been contained and other students were not at risk.
HIV isn’t the only STD that is a problem in the area.
- Earlier in 2016 there were 294 reported cases of chlamydia and three cases of gonorrhea reported. This can be attributed to the fact that 53 percent of the sexually active students at the University had practiced safe sex within the previous 30 days.
Encouraging safe sex has been the goal of the city for years. Because it is such a large college town, STDs have always been a problem, forcing the local government to focus on ways to get the rate of diagnoses down from one year to the next. Handing out the free condoms is part of the efforts being put forth to keep students healthier and stop the spread of STDs on campus.
All schools in the city are required by law to offer sexual health education to their students. Some in the community feel that the quality of the sex education classes offered needs to be improved. The goal of improving sexual health education is to remove the stigma that buying condoms is embarrassing. This includes encouraging individuals engaging in sexual activity to be honest with their partner or partners about his or her sexual history.
STD testing is easy to acquire in this city. One option open to students at the University is to go to the Redfern Health Center on campus for their testing. This includes screening for STDs such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and HIV.
Many centers outside of the University also test for STDs. Some of them are non-profit clinics where low income individuals can still undergo STD testing and treatment if needed. These centers educate the community on the risk of STDs and also offer private counseling to anyone who have been diagnosed with an STD. This includes testing and treatment for HIV.
However, many people in and around the city still prefer to go to their own private doctor or a neighborhood STI clinic if they believed that they may have been infected. It is a community that puts an emphasis on testing.
Some feel that the reason STDs are such a problem is that today’s generation is under the mistaken impression that they are invincible. Social media has also been blamed on the increase in STD diagnoses. With so many social media websites for young people to meet on it is believed casual sex is becoming more and more appealing and that this is leading to more STD diagnoses among the younger generation.
The number of college students in the city is thought to be what has driven up the area’s rate of STD diagnoses. This is especially true when it comes to HIV. In fact, in 2015 24 cases of AIDS were reported there. By the end of the year 36 people had died of it.
Young adults are the demographic that are the most affected by STDs. The majority of them are African American. Approximately 80% of the AIDS deaths over a period of seven years occurred in African American men, and to a lesser extent, women.
These demographics are the ones that the city is focusing on treating the most. It has made efforts to reach these demographics of people and educate them on how to manage their STD and how to avoid contracting another one in the future. The goal is to encourage people in these demographics to pay more attention to their health and to visit a doctor on a regular basis, in order to maintain health.
Whether you are a college student or year round resident, it is important to take care of your sexual health. The number of STDs reported each year is rising, and this means regular testing needs to be a part of your health care routine. If you don’t want to stand in line at the community center there is a faster and easier way to take responsibility for your sexual health. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend a few minutes at a neighborhood lab. This way you can feel good about your sexual health and still have plenty of time to explore this fascinating city.