Durex survey reveals U’s student body’ssafe-sex habits on par with national norm

Mary Stegmeir

According to a recent Durex-sponsored GenSex Survey, 38 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 have slept with a new sexual partner without wearing a condom.

David Golden, director of Public Health, Marketing and Program Development at Boynton Health Service, said the numbers are on par with University figures.

The 2001 College Student Health Survey at the University posed a similar question and received a comparable response.

Fifty-seven percent of single students polled in this study said he or she had used a condom the last time he or she had sexual intercourse.

Golden said the numbers, calculated from 3,000 student responses, are encouraging because they suggest many students are taking their reproductive health seriously.

“Condom use and the increase of condom use is really important,” he said. “It stops the spread (of diseases). It puts up a firewall.”

Golden said he would still like the number of students using condoms to increase at the University. He credits a relatively low rate of sexually transmitted infections among the student body to condom use.

The College Student Health Survey found 92.5 percent of students at the University reported they had never been diagnosed with an STI.

In the United States, the rate of unintended pregnancies is decreasing, in part because of condom use. In the last 12 months, 2.6 percent of female University students became pregnant. Sixty-five percent of those pregnancies were unplanned.

Golden said the low campus pregnancy rate can be attributed in part to an increase in condom use, as well as the availability of emergency contraception.

“I really advocate strongly for condom use,” Golden said. “This is close to the peak age for STIs. (For college students) it’s a great time to talk about this.”

Anna Kruchowski, a sophomore involved in Sexual Health Awareness and Disease Education, a Boynton Health Service-based peer education group, said open dialogue is a key component of safe sex.

“Personally, I think (the largest sexual health issue on campus is) students talking to their partners about safer sex and asking them if they have been tested,” she said.

Kruchowski said the sexual health peer group members educate other students about the dangers of unprotected sex and provide students with the information they need to make educated decisions concerning their sexual health.

Cary Nakamaru, a junior English major, said information about safe sex from Sexual Health Awareness and Disease Education members and other organizations on and off campus keeps students well-informed.

“It’s a message that everyone is pretty familiar with,” he said. “I guess it’s up to the individual.”

Nakamaru said a feeling of invincibility among college-age adults often overrides common sense and may explain why some of the students polled in the two studies did not use condoms.

“Everyone thinks (STIs) can’t happen to them,” he said.

The condom manufacturer’s study polled 2,548 people across the country in November. The survey was conducted online, with a random sample of invited respondents. Their findings were released last week.

Mary Stegmeir welcomes comments at [email protected]