Have a safe Valentine’s Day

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Have a safe Valentine’s Day

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, some students are getting excited and making Valentine’s Day arrangements. From spending some time away from home, planning a Chick-fil-A dinner, or maybe catching up on Netflix in your dorm-however you choose to spend the day/weekend-if you choose to participate in sexual activities, make it sober and make it safe.  In 2018, Region 9-Hammond/Slidell-had the sixth highest number of new HIV diagnoses, seventh highest number of primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses and had the sixth highest number of chlamydia diagnoses. From the statistics you just read, 72% of those diagnoses were made up of persons 24 years old and younger. It is always a good idea to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases because it will let you know if you do or do not have an STD. You can get the right treatment and/or medical care and protect you and your partner(s) from getting or spreading STDs. Getting tested can keep you in a clear state of health and mind for both you and your partner.  The University Health Center offers STD testing: $10 for HIV and $10 for gonorrhea and chlamydia or $20 for both. Keep an eye out for our free STD testing week that happens every semester. During the spring semesters, we have our free STD testing week two weeks after spring break, and during the fall semesters, we have free STD testing week two weeks after Homecoming Week. Visiting your doctor to get an STD screening should be just like getting your annual check-up: once every year when practicing safe sex. If you are not practicing safe sex or have multiple partners, doctors and gynecologists recommend testing every three to six months. This Valentine’s Day, nothing says “I love you” more than caring about your own well-being, caring about your partner’s well-being and practicing safe sex if you are sexually active.  If you choose to participate in sexual activities, make sure you speak with your partner about safe sex, protection for yourself and your partner(s), know how to properly use a condom/internal condom/dental dam and ask your partner if they have ever been tested for STDs