After an unfounded HIV outbreak rumor was spread throughout the UNR campus, VOX wanted to commend the University and health center’s efforts and put an end to the misinformation. This guest editorial was sent to the campus publication:
First, the members of VOX, the sex education and policy influence club, would like to commend the quick and decisive response of the University and its health center regarding the unfounded rumor about an HIV outbreak. Student concerns stemmed from a rumor coinciding with April’s STD Awareness month. Misinformed students worried some cases of HIV had been confirmed in the dorms. Fortunately there was little time lost between the rumor and supplemental information from the University as well as education and resources provided by the health center. The free testing already scheduled to be provided by the health center was handled efficiently and confidentially.
Regular STD testing is vital to the sexual health of the University of Nevada, Reno campus as a whole. Awareness of STD infections early on prevents spreading from partner to partner. The UNR health center offers low cost STD testing for students. Planned Parenthood Mar Monte on Fifth Street also provides full spectrum testing and treatment, on a sliding pay scale, for anyone regardless of insurance coverage. Students and Reno residents can also access testing and treatment through Washoe County Health Centers.
Education about STDs and awareness leads to a sexually healthier and safer campus. The recent incidents on campus proves the necessity of stronger sexual education for students before they enter college. In 2008 University of Nevada students had twice the STD rates of contemporaries across the country. Nearly 75% of students are Nevadans, which ranks 2nd in the nation for teen pregnancy rates (2008 latest figure available from Guttmacher Institute) and 16th in teen birth rates according to the Center for Disease Control this year. Clearly students who did not receive adequate sexual education in high school need information once they get to college.
Prevention is key especially on a large college campus. Knowledge provides the resources to prevent infections from occurring and reduces misinformation.Nevada needs better Sex Education. We need stronger legislation to ensure that Nevada teens get the real deal:
• Just the facts! Use medically accurate info from professionals
• Education, not scare tactics! Including info on STDs and contraception
• Help students develop healthy relationships
• Teach kids how to prevent dating violence and abuse
• Tell them what they need to know about the law
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “only specific fluids (blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk) from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV. These specific fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the blood-stream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to possibly occur. In the United States, HIV is most commonly transmitted through specific sexual behaviors (anal or vaginal sex) or sharing needles with an infected person.”
VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood strives to better educate the UNR campus on sexual health and rights issues. VOX focuses on education and motivating students to protect themselves and their partners to prevent perpetuation of infections. The club hosts events, tabling and lobby opportunities and sparks pro-choice and sexual health and justice activism on campus. Anyone interested in joining the club can contact VOX through the VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood, University of Nevada, Reno chapter Facebook page or website: Unrvox.com.