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Health Matters: The Smart Person’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

Tips to help you make the right choices on a special day


Aside from being Hallmark’s most profitable holiday, Valentine’s Day is considered the most romantic day of the year. So it not merely coincidental that the week surrounding Valentine’s Day is promoted by the American Social Health Association as National Condom Week. And BU’s Student Health Services is right there with them.

“Student Health Services consistently promotes safer sex,” explains Beth Grampetro, health and wellness educator at Student Health Services. “We feel that if students choose to be sexually active they should be able to make informed decisions about protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy.”

Grampetro reminds hasty romantics that people between the ages of 15 and 25 contract half of the 19 million new cases of STIs reported each year. Want more discouraging numbers? More than half of all people will be infected with an STI at some point in their lifetime. And while anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting an STI, women, youth, and people of color are more likely to become infected. Untreated STIs, some of which have no symptoms and can be contracted from partners who don’t know they are carriers, can lead to a variety of health problems. Some of the most serious include infertility, cervical cancer, and an increased chance of HIV, which can lead to AIDS.

Condoms help. Grampetro reminds students that young women whose male partners use condoms regularly cut their risk of acquiring HPV (human papillomavirus) significantly. And condoms are free, at least at Student Health Services. For greater privacy, students can use a Condom Coupon, which enables them to discreetly buy a large quantity of condoms for a nominal fee.

Student Health Ambassadors will be available this week at the Student Health Services health education office to answer questions about sex and will be handing out “Safer Sex goody bags.”

For more information about National Condom Week, click here.

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

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