I walked into the suite party entering a world of shirtless girls flailing their half-covered breasts around to the sounds of Kesha’s ‘Tik Tok.” To my right were guys making out with girls they’d hardly remember the next morning.

Coming my way was a pretty little brunette girl who, in her attempts at welcoming me, recklessly spilled half of her beer on my boots and offered me a kiss as a strange form of apology. Oh the beautiful sights of college, I thought. There’s no experience like it.

Some of us come to this place called college and find our more daring and sexual sides, while others choose not to explore that side of themselves at all. Some of us take sexual risks to evaporate the loneliness of not having a partner, while others do so just to take a chance.

Many of these choices have eventually proven to be mistakes. The kind you wake up to the next morning and think ‘How did I get here?” or ‘Who is this random girl lying in my bed?” These are the mistakes many of us would consider to be the best. After all, the best mistakes are said to be the ones you don’t remember. But what happens when these mistakes have an aftermath? What happens when you begin to develop a nasty sore on your genitals that wasn’t there just a week ago?

For some sexually active college students, it takes moments like these for us to realize that we need to take a visit to University Health Service. As awkward as these visits may be, taking such a little step by going to the doctor’s office could go a long way.

On those often dreaded visits to our physicians, it is common that we walk out assuming we are disease-free because we never receive an anonymous letter stating otherwise. Many times we presume that this is an indication that we have no STD worries.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

What we may be surprised to learn is that, in most cases, these physicians do not automatically perform tests that indicate whether someone is infected or not. Such services must be requested from the patient. It would be nice if this was done without having to go through the awkward process of asking your physician to test you for STDs, but it just isn’t that easy.

The first and most vital part to ensuring that we don’t catch something nasty from our partner would be to use condoms. Unfortunately, in situations where it’s all about a good time, we forget about this option or chose not to take advantage of it. Once this option is disregarded and the damage has been done, our next choice would be to get tested.
Asking our physicians to test us for STDs is a huge hurdle that many find tough to get over. Let’s be honest, it can be embarrassing and just plain uncomfortable.

Leaving a note at the front desk of the clinic telling your doctor to test the cup of urineyou’ve given him, or asking the nurse to relay the message to the doctor are both effective ways to avoid the embarrassment.

Many people choose not to use their primary physician to test them for diseases, but instead go to outside clinics that will do it for a cheap fee. This can make things a little less uncomfortable, because once the tests are done you never have to see those people at the clinic again. Places like Planned Parenthood usually test their patients without being asked to do so, so this could be another great way to get around such discomfort.

Going there will help you avoid having to discuss STDs with your primary doctor, who you have to see at least once a year.

Whatever your method, don’t let your fear of asking to get tested keep you from being in tune with your sexual health.

Cooper is a member of the class of 2012.

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