Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Back to School Guide: Practicing safe sex important

No matter if you’re new here at Plattsburgh State or closing in on the finish line, you’re just a swipe away to finding you’re hook-up. Although the traditional route to finding a hook-up might be passé, the risks of STD’s/STI’s are not.

Most of the sexually active students at PSUC are good at using the resources that are available for prevention.

Rhema Lewis, public health educator and sexual assault victims advocate, and Kathleen Camelo, director of the Student Health and Counseling Center at PSUC, can attest to that.

“Students are definitely using the condoms at the self care section. We have seen that and it has been a high utilization,” Camelo said.

Katie Ramus, Community Educator at Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York, said 66 percent of their patients in 2013 were college-age students. Although that may have had an effect on the decline of pregnancies, it hasn’t had much effect on STI’s.

“Teen pregnancy rates have been on a steady decline through the years, but there is still work to be done as STI rates continue to soar,” she said.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, half of the nation’s population will contract an STI by the age of 24.

Ramus said that while anyone who is sexually active is at risk for getting an STI, women and youth are more likely to get infected. According to the New York State Department of Health, women account for 64 percent of reported STDs.

“It’s probably because women tend to get tested more often,” Camelo said about New York State’s Department of Health’s numbers.

Camelo also mentioned that they have seen an increase in unusual STI’s, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, something that may have to do with students’ use of hook-up apps.

“It appears that students have more access to more sexual partners than they did in the past. They can actually meet partners more easily than they did in the past with apps such as these; it makes it easier. It also probably havsincreased the number of sexual partners that they may have,” she said.

Lewis doesn’t think that the use of Tinder has dramatically changed students’ sexual behavior.

“People have been having sex since Adam and Eve. So I don’t think Tinder is going to dramatically change peoples sexual behavior,” she said.

BBC.com reported that those who use hook-up apps such as Tinder and Grindr, especially those from the gay community, are at high risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, something that Ramus doesn’t agree with.

“Anyone involved in casual relationships with multiple partners is at risk of contracting STI’s regardless of sexual orientation,” she said.

PSUC student and peer educator Kiley Zachs sees an upside in the use of apps like Tinder.

“It kind of gets rid of stereotypes and it makes people feel that they’re going to be less judged about having sex,” she said. “But I think that there is an assumption on Tinder that just because you’re talking to someone, you’re pressured to send naked pictures and talk to them in a sexual way, but you don’t have to. So I think Tinder has good and bad things. It’s about communication.”

Email Winta Mebrahti at

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