September 29, 2020

DSC_1206WEBBY HEATHER KENNERY

With Valentine’s Day almost here, most of us are busy buying flowers and chocolates, hoping to woo that special someone. But, what about buying condoms?

According to www.nursingschools.net, if you are sitting at a lunch table with three friends you can estimate that one out of four of you have had a sexually transmitted infection (STI). This shouldn’t make you cringe at the sight of your friends but rather realize the importance of safe sex.

Safe sex is almost an oxymoron, when nothing but abstinence has been proven to be fully effective against pregnancy and STIs. It makes you question what should you really be using for protection.

Condoms do not prevent all STIs, which is a common misconception, said obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Ashley Waddington, who is currently serving as one of Queen’s University’s Contraceptive Advice, Research and Education fellows. Asking your partner about his or her past sexual experiences is a good way to start the conversation about contraception, but if your significant other has had even one sexual partner you should also discuss if they have recently been tested for STIs.

Waddington wants college students to know that being tested isn’t something to be scared of.

“You do not need to have a painful exam to be tested for STIs. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be diagnosed with a simple urine sample,” she said.

Using a condom during intercourse including oral, anal and vaginal, is a great step for prevention, according to the website, www.sexualityandu.ca. The site also suggests that females can use a dental dam during oral sex, which is a sheet of latex that can prevent transmission between you and your partner.

At Conestoga College you can visit Health Services in Room 1A102 for free condoms. While there you can also schedule an appointment for STI screening and pregnancy testing and counselling with the campus doctor who works part-time. If you are unable to visit the office you can book an appointment by calling 519-748-5220, ext. 3679.

Shannon Oliu, the Health Services nurse at Conestoga College, wants students to know that there are other places in K-W to go to for support if the doctor’s office is not open.

Oliu, suggests urgent care clinics, which are open seven day a week, as well as pharmacies, as a great help for students who need support and information on sexual health and protection.

Having “the talk” or clumsily ripping into a condom may not seem like a top priority when you’re in the heat of the moment, but it will save you from having to ask many other questions after the fact.