The other day I spent some time with a long time friend of mine. It was a long yet blissful day; we ran all over town, touching down in each borough for at least an hour, well all of the boroughs with the exception of Staten Island. By the time we returned to my apartment, we were exhausted, drained, and well filthy. We had been running the streets of New York, riding the trains, sitting in public places, and using public restrooms. We were both due for a hot shower and a long night of sleep.
My friend, being the germ freak that she is, immediately ran to the bathroom, not only to wash her hands, but to scrub her face with soap and hot water as well. She then sat down to eat her food. While she ate, I asked her if she would take a picture of me. I was so in love with my outfit that day, that I felt the need to take as many pictures as possible in my lovely get up. At first she didn’t want to do it. She complained of touching the camera and then touching her food. She didn’t want to spread germs to her food. “But what about when you have unprotected sex”, I asked? She stopped and looked at me. “I only have unprotected sex with one person,” was her reply. I stared at her in amazement. “How do you know that he’s not having sex with anyone else,” I questioned? Her response, “he’s not.”
This got me thinking, deep, real deep. How could someone be so afraid of getting germs, but not as afraid of putting their life on the line? I mean she had been with this guy for over three years, but still.
I remember being a student in undergraduate school, and doing a project for my Black Studies class about sexual health and how so many young people are misinformed about the dangers of having unprotected sex. Thankfully, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an abundance of information about Sexual Transmitted Diseases, including, prevention, causes, and treatment. While some diseases have noticeable symptoms, there are other diseases that don’t show symptoms. Some diseases are silent, slowly ruining the health of its victim until the victim decides to go and get themselves checked out.
According to the CDC, each year, there are approximately 19 million new STD infections, and almost half of them are among youth aged 15 to 24. This shows that many young people don’t get checked out. Maybe they think that they are invincible, or are afraid, or they may simply be ignorant about the importance of knowledge of their sexual health status. Fortunately, there are places throughout the five boroughs, where male and female students can get tested for STD’s. So what will you do? Will you become a germ freak or a freak about the safety of your sexual health? I suggest that you choose the latter!
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