Sexual responsibility week commences

Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.
Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, the use of sexual responsibility is more relevant than usual. Before being intimate with a partner, students who are in a relationship are advised to make sure to ask the right questions and communicate any kind of medical history.

“It’s not a bad idea to get checked before and be truthful about what you had in the past. Even using condoms isn’t 100 percent,” Wendy Hearn, registered nurse of Student Medical Services, said.

SMS provides condoms, birth control, emergency contraception, and the Gardisil vaccine. They also test for all STDs for a lab fee and if students are diagnosed, they can bring their partner with them to SMS to get more information about the disease. SMS has one physician, Dr. Jim Gibbs, two nurse practitioners, Wendy Hearn and Candy Marshall, and two registered nurses who are also graduate students, Hayley Robinson and LuAnne Rickwartz. If a student is more comfortable with a particular gender performing examinations, the student may request to be seen by the physician or nurse practitioner of their choice.

In 2012, 80 confirmed cases of Chlamydia and twelve confirmed cases of Gonorrhea were reported to the Health Department by SMS. These cases did not include the amount of people who came in with only symptoms and got treatment or those who came in because their partner had been diagnosed and asked for treatment, according to Hearn.

Travis Lubbe, senior Broadcasting major, suggested the best way to ensure that people know what they are doing is to make sure that they are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“Do it in the most sober state,” Lubbe said.

Students understand that intercourse can lead to unexpected pregnancy or contracting of a STD. “Regardless of how long you’ve been with someone, whether it is two years, two months, or two seconds, know the possible consequences,” Izaak Chavez, program director of KWTS at WT, said.

The fact that SMS does give contraception to students for free gives students who do not have a lot of extra money a place to go to help protect themselves and practice sexual responsibility.

“I think it’s very good,” Lubbe said. “Some students are like me and are very broke, so free stuff is awesome.”

If a person is not quite ready to make that leap into an intimate relationship and fears that Valentine’s Day is a lot of pressure, group dating is suggested.

“It’s good to have groups so you have someone to help you get home if something goes wrong,” Hearn said.
Finding a group of friends to do something for Valentine’s may be one of the ways to take the pressure off.

“Meet with people who you know have similar interest and do lights off golf or something,” Chavez said.
Valentine’s Day is generally geared towards couples, but some students use the day to show their loved ones they care.

“I think it is great for not only couples, but for family too,” Lubbe said. “You get to express how they are prevalent in your life.”

Others are a little more cynical and find Valentine’s Day as a regular day.

“It’s really a Hallmark holiday, but if people need a day to say ‘I love you,’ that’s fantastic,” Chavez said.