College senior Chris Baldwin and 20 members of the Public Health Coalition, a university club to promote healthy lifestyles are selling baked goods and handing out condoms this week.
Baldwin said the two day bake sale raises awareness of sexually transmitted diseases, a health concern that affects college students. According to the Center for Disease Control, half of the new 20,000 STDs diagnosed nationally each year are from people between the ages of 15 and 24.
“I think students and parents have a blind eye to this issue,” Baldwin said, adding recent health scares making headlines including measles and Ebola are less likely to affect college students than a STD.
Baldwin said the university needs to stress health issues as much as priorities such as graduating on time. He said parents need to make it a conversation before their son or daughter starts college. He said he would like to see college orientation to include more on safe sex.
“What can happen at college can have lifelong health effects including infertility,” he said.
According to the Student Health Center at UNR, a free clinic paid by student fees for those enrolled in six credits or more, 2,900 students were tested for sexually transmitted diseases in 2014. Of those 9.4 percent were diagnosed with Chlamydia. Diagnosed cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, HPV and HIV were low.
Enid Jennings of the Student Health Center said in a 2014 survey of 800 UNR students, 2 percent self-reported they had been diagnosed or treated for HPV, 1 percent for herpes, .7 percent for Chlamydia and .1 percent for gonorrhea.
Jennings said those numbers are in line with national statistics at other colleges across the country.
“We try to emphasis and create a culture that testing becomes a routine part of your health care,” Jennings said. She said she recommends sexually active students be tested once a year.
The bake sale and condom giveaway continues from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday outside the Joe Crowley Student Union.