Sexually transmitted diseases are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States today, according to the Center of Disease Control.
More than 20 STDs are estimated to affect 19 million men and women across the United States each year.
The Florida Department of Health reports that syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are the top three STDs in the state.
There have been 90 cases of syphilis, 8,111 cases of gonorrhea and 20,296 chlamydia cases reported in Leon County between 2001 and 2010.
Jacky Success, a freshman criminal justice student from Ft. Pierce, Fla., said knowing about these diseases has scared him away from the temptation of engaging in any sexual acts.
“The fear alone is enough to scare me,” Success said. “But most of all, my faith to God is another reason why I’m not sexually active.”
Student Health Director Tanya Tatum said the campus clinic has more cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea than any other STD; however, cases of syphilis are on the rise.
“The majority of these cases appear after FAMU’s Homecoming and Spring Break,” Tatum said.
The student health services hosts workshops and events to raise awareness about STDs and provide testing.
“We provide condoms both for vaginal and oral sex here at the clinic,” Tatum said. “Students should always use protection when engaging any sexual act. It’s just too easy to catch an STD.”
STDs can have no signs or symptoms or the symptoms may go away.
Symptoms vary by disease. Common ones include sores, bumps or blisters near genitals, rectum or mouth, burning and pain while urinating or having a bowel movement, the need to urinate often, itching around genitals, swelling or redness in the throat and flu-like symptoms like fever, chills and aches. Many STDs are curable and can be treated with antibiotics; others are not.
If you are experiencing symptoms, medical experts advise you to avoid having sex and contact your doctor or the nearest clinic to get checked.