In today’s world. Colleges are realizing that it is important to encourage their students to be more proactive about sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing. According to a recent article in The Marquette Tribute, Marquette University, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is launching a “Get Yourself Tested” campaign. Started by the university’s student health center, it is intended to increase awareness among young people about the health benefits associated with safe sex.

According to the 2012 National College Health Assessment (NCHA), data indicated that over 62 percent of Marquette University’s student population was sexually active. However, only 3.6 percent received STD testing through the university health center in the last year. The university’s associate director of student health services, Robin Brown, believes this has the potential to become an increasing problem on college campuses throughout the United States.

In an interview with the Marquette Tribute, Brown stated, “ Through campaigns such as (Get Yourself Tested) and National STD Awareness Month, sexually active young people are urged to get tested, therefore, taking responsibility for their own health and the health of others. Many STDs do not cause symptoms, such as chlamydia, HIV and HPV, so it is important for all sexually active individuals to have a conversation with their doctor or their student health service and get tested.”

Brown stressed that waiting for STD symptoms to appear can result in serious health problems because the infections are easily spread to others. Brown recommends that all sexually active students get tested a minimum of yearly for chlamydia. For students who engage in sexual activity with more than one partner, more frequent testing is strongly encouraged.

The NCHA determined that, overall, a mere 61.2 percent of students on college campuses reported the use of a condom during the time they last they engaged in vaginal intercourse. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the highest risk group for STDs are individuals between the ages of 15 and 24. Programs, such as “Get Yourself Tested” could be very successful at slowing the high rate of infection.