Boy meets girl at a party. Boy and girl hook up. A common scenario at Bowdoin College.
Then boy gives girl a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), or vice versa—a scenario that seems to be recently spreading on campus.
Earlier this month, Coordinator of Health Education Whitney Hogan sent an email to all first years as well as Peer Health regarding the recent upswing in diagnoses of STIs on campus. The email was then circulated to many other groups and individuals.
Hogan reminded students to practice safer sex and use condoms.
A person who has never had a symptom can have an STI, and is therefore still able to transmit diseases.
"The best way to protect yourself and your partners from STIs is to use barrier methods of protection," Hogan said in her message. "Condoms, latex gloves and dental dams."
In 2005, the Orient conducted a survey about dating and relationship experiences at Bowdoin.
The poll found that more Bowdoin students engage in one-night hook-ups than any other type of romantic or sexual interaction and that this is especially important on a campus where one-night stands and multiple partners are the common currency of sexual relationships. The second most common type of interaction was hooking up with the same person multiple times, without a relationship.
The email from Hogan has apparently already impacted campus culture. Ike May '15 remarked, "I have some friends who have been saying that they are less likely to hook up with people now because of how common STIs are becoming on campus."
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, estimates there are approximately 19 million new cases of STIs each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15- to 24-years-old.
According to the CDC, genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI. About 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, and the agency estimates 60 percent of women will get HPV while in college.
Other common STIs include Chlamydia, syphilis, herpes and gonorrhea.
Various barrier methods of protection are available for free at the Health Center, as well as STI testing.