Volume 91, Issue 16

Wednesday, September 24, 1997

Beep beep


Student body afflicted with less sex education

By Natalie Henry
Gazette Staff

Have you ever examined your body and discovered the difference between your clitoris and urethra or your scrotum and rectum? Are you comfortable enough with your partner to discuss condom use even though you've been together for a significant amount of time and they feel the pill is enough protection?

Whether you are abstinent, monogamous or frequent the beds of a variety of people, a good dose of reality could be helpful before the next, or first, time you decide to become intimate with someone.

"Genital warts, Human Papillomavirus, Venereal warts and especially, Chlamydia," Cyndy Camp, Health Coordinator of Student Health Services at Western, responds when asked about prevalent sexually transmitted diseases that afflict students. "These STD's are not just prevalent here but on all college campuses.

"Genital warts comes from skin to skin contact. It's a virus tough to get rid of – a process which involves burning them off with liquid nitrogen."

Before many of you decide to reincarnate into 'secondary' virgins there is no need to go to extreme measures.

"Condoms help somewhat if men have [warts] on the end of the penis," she explains. "Yet it doesn't prevent them entirely so it's not just caught through intercourse."

It can be caught through heavy petting such as thigh to thigh contact, Camp adds. Although condoms are almost 99 per cent effective they are not completely reliable protection against STD's.

"With condom use it's pretty 'hit and miss' – people sporadically use condoms," Camp says. "Especially with those practicing serial monogamy, when you just meet them you protect yourself, yet when you get to know them you protect yourself less. People tend to believe nice people don't get STD's."

People don't believe it will happen to them, reinforces Sue McGarvie, Sex Therapist and member of the Sex Therapy Council of Canada. "In a relationship a person may not be able to break up with their partner and so they sleep around."

Albeit out of fear of parental discovery or their partner's reaction, the need to follow the crowd or lack of communication in a relationship where sex was quickly initiated, some young adults are not consistently protecting themselves and therefore, not taking care of their bodies.

"Students may be afraid to get a check-up because of cost or parental knowledge," McGarvie says. "Yet tuition pays for it and it doesn't go on any record so parents would never find out.

"For awhile young women are not in tune with their bodies," she says. "They are burying their heads in the sand – it's difficult to negotiate condom use in the back seat of a car with a guy twice your size.

"Sheik [condom manufacturer] performed a recent survey with 25 countries – Canadians were the least likely to use a condom."

Although condom use may not be the only answer to better protection, it is a progressive step towards gaining pride and self-respect for your body, according to McGarvie. Whether sexually active or not, the next leap towards better health could be educating yourself on sexual issues, not to mention new types of contraception.

Advantage-24 is a new spermicide product which is inserted into the vagina and is good for 24 hours, McGarvie informs. It is 94 per cent effective in preventing the AIDS virus and other STDS and is as effective as birth control, although condoms are still recommended, she adds.

"There's more sex in a generation where there is not enough sex education – there are only two weeks in grade 10 gym," McGarvie stresses. "There's no more information than there was 25 years ago."

Camp assures that Western has been trying to teach young adults additional information. "We've been running sessions, such as sex at seven, for 14 to 15 years to make first-year students more aware."

To Contact The Features Department: gazfeat@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997