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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lasell chapter.

Sex. Sex is a good thing. It’s supposed to feel good. It’s supposed to be fun. If it’s done right of course. But what happens when it stops feeling fun and starts feeling, you know, itchy. Or burning. Or things just start dripping from places that really shouldn’t be dripping. That means it’s time to get checked and get that problem figured out before it escalates. The following are five common forms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases among college students. 



This is one of the most prevalent diseases among college students with over one million new cases every year primarily among those between 18 and 24.

Transmitted – Vaginally, orally and anally

Symptom Incubation Period – Appears 7-28 days later (if symptoms show at all)

Female Symptoms – abnormal discharge and bleeding between period, burning or pain while peeing, and increased frequency in urination

Male Symptoms – Watery white drippage from the penis, burning and pain while urinating, and increased frequency in urination.

Testing – Urine Sample

Cure – Antibiotics

For those with multiple partners, it’s best to be tested yearly, particularly for those under twenty five.


This disease increases susceptibility to HIV transmission.

Transmitted – Penis to vagina, anally and orally.

Symptom Incubation Period – Appears 2-21 days later

Females – Majority are asymptomatic, thick yellow or grey discharge, burning and pain while urinating or defecating, abnormal bleeding, abdominal pain

Males – 50% have minor or no symptoms, thick yellow/green discharge, burning and pain while urinating or defecating, frequent urination, swollen or tender testicles

Testing – Urine Sample

Treatment – Antibiotics

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:

PID harms female reproductive organs when infections spread up from the vagina and cervix into the fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries. Infections that cause this include chlamydia, gonorrhea and other STI’s. 

Symptoms – Occur only in women. Long, painful period, unusual vaginal discharge, spotting/pain between periods, pain during urination, pain in lower back/abdomen, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and pain during sexual intercourse.

Testing – There is no definitive testing for PID but there can be testing for the infections that cause PID such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Pelvic ultrasounds can also be used as an indicator.

Treatment – Antibiotics and abstaining from sex

If untreated more serious problems can occur, including infertility, problematic pregnancy and chronic pain.



Herpes increases susceptibility to other STI’s.

Two types of herpes include HSV I which is oral and occurs in 50-80% of adults and HSV II which is genital and effects 1 in 5 college students.

Transmitted – Condoms can reduce the likelihood of transmission, but can still be transferred where skin touches. 

Symptom Incubation Period – 1-30 days post intercourse

Symptoms of HSVII – small painful blisters on sex organs and mouth, itching and burning feeling pre-blisters. Blisters last from 1-3 weeks. 90% of people have no symptoms. Primary outbreak appears with flu-like symptoms and lesions. Later outbreaks can be triggered by stress, illness, fatigue, sexual intercourse and menstruation.

Testing – Visual Outbreak inspection, sample from sore can be sent to a lab, blood testing.

Treatment – There is no treatment



There are five million new cases each year and account for 33% of annual STD’s and in some cases can lead to the development of cervical cancer.

Transmitted – Condoms can prevent transmission, but the disease can still be transferred in the unprotected areas where skin touches skin. Vaginally, orally and anally with men as the primary carriers.

Symptoms – Small, bumpy warts on genitals and anus, itching and burning around genitals. Most people are asymptomatic.

Female Testing – Pap smear can detect abnormal cell development correlated to cervical cancer

Male Testing – No test to detect carrier status

Treatment – Medication and surgical removal of warts

Prevention – Gardasil protects against four strains, two that are wart causing and two cancer causing. Consists of three shots over the course of six months for men and women under 26.


Please notice that the majority of these say that people can be asymptomatic. Meaning no symptoms appear within the incubation period. Some, like herpes, can be dormant for months, even years before an outbreak occurs. That’s why it’s best to get checked for the big stuff yearly. The more curable infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia, which only require urine samples, should be checked for after EVERY new partner. Also know that getting tested too soon can result in coming up clean because the infection hasn’t really infiltrated the body yet. It’s best to go at least three weeks after sex with a new partner to get tested.

Also note that many things can be transmitted even with a condom, if skin touches infected skin, the infection can spread. Oral herpes can be spread mouth to mouth during an outbreak. To learn more about STI’s, visit the health center. Those ladies love answering these questions. It’s kind of their job. Plus they provide free condoms and lube. Yes, free. As in no dollars. As in go and don’t let anyone use the “I couldn’t afford one” excuse.


And if that’s too awkward a conversation to have with another human being, check out trusted sites such as Mayo Clinic for information. They can provide a more in depth overview of symptoms and what to watch out for. This isn’t a complete list of STD’s, because there’s a lot of them. But it’s important to know what to watch out for. If something isn’t feeling right, make use of Health Services. Sometimes chlamydia can feel the same as a UTI, so if popping cranberry supplements isn’t working, it’s time to pee in a cup. It’ll be awkward for twenty minutes and then comes the relief that ‘hey, there’s a cure for that’.


Just remember to be aware. STD’s are common and effect millions of people every year. But you don’t have to be one of them. Just be smart. Get tested. That piss was just gonna go down the toilet anyway.


Happy Hunting. 



Information on these sexually transmitted diseases was gathered from Mayo Clinic and the American University.


“Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).” – Mayo Clinic. 30 Aug. 2015.

“Wellness Center.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases-American University. 30 Aug. 2015.

Haleigh West is an Honor's Student majoring in Fashion Design with a double minor in Environmental Studies and Studio Art. Her articles are centered around sexual awareness and relationship advice, with the occasional piece focusing on social justice from a feminist perspective. Outside of HerCampus, she runs Lasell's chapter of Active Minds, an organization dedicated to ending the stigma of mental illness on campus, and is an avid hiker who never stops exploring.As a self proclaimed "equalist" she is determined to live in a world where all are created equal. Free of sexism, free of racism, free of all stigma. A truly free world.