The subject of sexual health is an important one at colleges and universities everywhere.
In fact, traditional college students between the ages of 18 and 21 have been impacted more than individuals in any other age group by sexually transmitted diseases, such as human papillomavirus, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared the rising STD rates in the U.S. an "epidemic." The government agency estimates that there are 20 million new STD infections in the country each year, costing the healthcare system nearly $16 billion annually. Additionally, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are believed to account for 50 percent of these infections, even though they make up just 25 percent of the sexually active population.
Officials working at the University of Minnesota at Boynton's health services office recently announced that they are particularly concerned about the sexual health of the university's international students. According to the Minnesota Daily, they have noticed an increase in the number of STD cases, abnormal pap smears and positive pregnancy tests among students from other countries. This increase has prompted them to begin keeping track of patient data.
"I always think it's interesting when a whole group of doctors are saying that we're seeing an increase in this particular population," Boynton Women's Clinic associate director Lisa Mattson told the newspaper. "So something's different than they've seen in the past."
If the data support the observation of more international students being affected by STDs, the university will develop new outreach strategies to curb the infections. They've already started working to offer online health videos in several different languages, so the students can understand the message behind them more clearly.
Officials stated that poor sexual health among some international students may be the result of a lack of sex education as well as cultural beliefs regarding discourse on sex.