Be safe this Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many couples are planning their romantic dates for this weekend. With all of this love in the air, it is extremely important for students to be safe and make smart decisions while being intimate.

Not only should students be sure to use protection, but it is also important to get tested for STDs.
Getting tested and treated for a sexually transmitted disease is important in insuring your personal heath and the health of your partner this Valentine’s day, and every day of the year.

“Being a safe couple is very important not to only you but also to the other person you love,” said Julia Otero, a second year student at Eastern Michigan University.

Couples should even consider getting tested together. You or your significant other may have contracted a disease from a previous partner and just never shown symptoms.

“I believe STD testing is not just important for Valentine’s Day, but every day because you can catch something at anytime of the year,” Otero said. “STDs do not have a set time, date or occasion.”

Many females and couples also feel that they are being safe because they take prescription birth control. Birth control of any form only helps to protect women from unplanned pregnancies; they do not prevent HIV/AIDS or any other STDs.

After a couple has been together for an extended period of time, they are also less likely to continue to use protection, if they even did to begin with. This can be dangerous if one or both people have not been tested. In some cases, STDs fail to show any symptoms.

“I would be more than willing to get tested with my significant other, I get tested annually just for my own health and well being,” said Erishun Garrett, a senior at Eastern Michigan University.

After a couple has been tested, it is still safer to use protection even after both are proven to be healthy or uninfected. Condoms for the male are the most common choice and are readily available at almost any grocery store, gas station, and health clinic. They may even be available for free at multiple local health clinics, including the one right on campus in the Snow Health Center.

There are female condoms as well that are placed internally, and prove to be just as effective as male condoms.

“I think it is very important that you and your partner are both getting tested and it definitely builds a little more trust,” said Garrett.

If your partner is refusing to get tested with you, the best you can do is to still get tested yourself and be sure to use protection at all times. You may be afraid of starting an argument, but it is important not to think of this topic as something that could hurt your Valentine’s Day weekend or your relationship, but rather something that could protect you from a potentially life-long struggle with an STD.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated in their research that as of 2012, “Most reported Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections occur among 15-24-year olds.”

It is critical for young adults in high school and college to practice safe sex, however the risks do not end after college. These safe practices should be consistent throughout a person’s lifetime.
STDs can spread rapidly among those with more than one sex partner, like Syphilis and even HIV, which usually leads to AIDS if left untreated.

Valentine’s Day is about love, intimacy and romance, so it should not have to involve risk, dangers and illness. Talk to your partner about getting tested and staying safe.

If you want to get tested, counseled or you seek any other kind of medical assistance then visit Snow Health Center right on EMU’s Campus, next to the Rec/IM. You can call them at 734-487-1122 and make an appointment or you can stop by the second floor in person.

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