College students love to talk about sex, but sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a whole other ballgame.

Nobody seems to know when to get tested or what to get tested for, let alone how to ask a partner to get tested.

The stigma surrounding STDs links them with sexual promiscuity, as if you’ll be safe as long as you’re not “sleeping around.”

But such is not the case. Truth is, it only takes one partner to become infected.

In fact, half of sexually active people will contract an STD by age 25, according to the

So, how often should you be tested?

As a rule of thumb, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting tested annually, after every new sexual partner and after having unprotected sex.

Everyone between ages 13-64 be tested for HIV at least once. Those who partake in unprotected sex, and users who share injection equipment should be tested yearly, and 2-4 times per year for men who have sex with other men.

All sexually active people under 25 should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year, and after every new partner. If someone has multiple sex partners or is a sex worker, they should be tested more often.

Gay and bisexual men should also be tested yearly for HIV. If they have multiple partners, these men would benefit from screening every 3-6 months.

Syphilis, HIV and Hepatitis B screenings are recommended for all pregnant women.

In short, getting tested doesn’t mean you’re dirty; in fact it’s just the opposite. Making a screening appointment means taking charge of your health, caring for the health of your partners, and preventing the spread of STDs and HIV.

Whisler offers low-cost screenings; appointments last less than an hour.

Charges can be posted confidentially; parents or guardians who have access to your student account will not see them. These can then be paid off at the student accounts office in cash or check. Otherwise, charges can be posted to your account.

Call Whisler Health Services at 740-587-6200 to schedule an appointment; and remind your partner(s) to do the same while you’re at it.