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Students share their stance on safe sex

Safe sex is more than just wearing a condom and taking birth control. Many students say it’s about consent, protecting yourself from diseases and unwanted pregnancies and the importance of properly educating people on how to be safe with their partners. 

In 2019, 38% of U.S. high school students said they had sexual intercourse, but less than 10% said they had never been tested for HIV, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control. In the same year, they also found that only 54.3% of students wore condoms during their last sexual activity, a decrease from 61.1% in 2009.

Chemistry freshman Ashton Drake said practicing safe sex protects him from sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.

Drake said honesty between partners, using protection and taking care of each other are examples of safe sex. People should share their sexual history with their partner, especially if they had unprotected sex because not all diseases have visible effects, he said. 

Jaquetta Reeves, graduate nursing assistant professor, said people become more likely to get sexually transmitted diseases when they have unprotected sex and are unaware of their partner’s sexual history. 

People should discuss sex education with young adults more often and they should learn about sex before getting information from social media, Reeves said. 

“Sex is inevitable,” she said. “It’s going to happen.” 

Zoe Stankowski, social work junior and Relationship Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention peer educator, said they learned about abstinence in school. There is a lack of education on gay sex, consensual sex and how one should take care of one’s body after sex, they said.

Stankowski said safe sex relies on communication and being consensual with one’s partner. Schools should teach more about consent, they said. 

In 2018 the National Sexual Violence Resource Center reported 81% of women and 43% of men experienced sexual harassment or assault in some form in their life.

“Consent is such a vital piece of information for safe sex,” Stankowski said. 

Drake said since school didn’t teach him enough about safe sex, he researched  in middle school by himself. Without a required sex education course, people won’t know how to prepare for safe sex when the time comes, he said. 

Reeves said UTA offers resources for students that teach sex education as well as test people for STIs and HIV. Health Services provides students with a free first-time service and other ways to test without billing students’ insurance. 

Even if a person is in a monogamous relationship, they should still get tested, Reeves said. She suggests people get tested every four months to be safe since there is still room for error with contraceptives.

“One of the greatest myths is you think it won’t be you or can’t be you, and it will be you, or it might already be you,” Reeves said.

Of almost 38,000 new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. in 2018, 21% of them came from young  adults aged 13 to 24, according to the CDC. 

“If you happen to test positive for HIV, there are several different community health centers that will be able to service you and treat you and care for you lifelong, so you can still have a meaningful life,” Reeves said. 


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