Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Yale students getting schooled on sexual health and STD testing

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Yale University held its annual Sex Week from Feb. 4 through 14, and students were given information on sexual health, behavior and preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

According to a blog post in San Francisco Weekly, the Ivy League university began its sexual awareness week in 2002, hosting workshops and events to help students better understand sexuality, intimacy and relationships.

The news source stated that Yale is bringing in a number of non-traditional sex educators. These include performer Dixie De La Tour, transgendered comedian Just Morgan and activist and porn star Maggie Mayhem. Additionally, the week will end with a talk from sexologist Carol Queen, co-founder of the Center for Sex and Culture.

An article in the Yale Daily News illustrates why events like Sex Week are needed. The news source cites statistics it gathered from a survey of 1,770 Yale undergraduate students. Perhaps the most attention-grabbing numbers are that just half of sexually active female students have sought STD testing, while only 35 percent of their male counterparts obtained screening.

While the Yale Daily News poll revealed that just 2.6 percent of the students had been infected with an STD, there may be quite a few unreported cases because an estimated 57 percent of the respondents had never been tested.

Another alarming statistic was that a whopping 93 percent of students said they never use a condom or a dental dam when engaging in oral sex.

"Some of my patients compare oral sex with a condom to sucking on a garden hose," said James Perlotto, chief of student and athletic medicine at Yale University Health Services, quoted by the news source. "But there are real risks in having unprotected oral sex."

STDs are no less infectious through oral contact than they are via genital-to-genital intercourse, as they can infect the mouth and throat.

These statistics indicate that Sex Week's Get Tested! campaign may be very much in need. Organizers of the effort have launched a video about sexual health and how to prevent the spread of STDs through testing and regular condom use.

"The Get Tested! campaign seeks to make the [testing and counseling] process as easy as possible," said Allie Bauer, member of the Yale Sexual Literacy Coalition, quoted by the Yale Daily News. "Countless people have told me that they wanted to get tested but were given an appointment up to a month later, and by that point they did not think it was worth the effort."