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Be HIV/AIDS aware

In the 80s, when HIV and AIDS came to the fore, it was big news. Media campaign after media campaign helped to raise awareness, and young people appeared to gain a good understanding of the risks. These children of 80s are now in their thirties. If you are a Trinity student reading this, you were probably just being born.

Later, most of the campaigns were aimed at key groups like gay men and intravenous drug users. While this certainly meant that at-risk groups were targeted, it may also inadvertently have meant that the general population began to perceive that they were not so much at risk of HIV or AIDS. If you are a Trinity student, this is probably your experience of HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns.

Among Trinity students (like yourself), unsafe sex, which can expose a person to HIV, appears to be fairly common. Our 2006 sexual health survey showed that 14% of respondents “never” use condoms. 38% of respondents use condoms “always” and 25% “usually”. 23% use condoms “occasionally”.

Of course, the reason for not using condoms is important. For example, 59% of you who don’t use a condom say it’s because you are in a monogamous relationship, where the sexual history of your partner may be known. On the flip side, 18% of you said you did not use a condom because sex was unplanned, leaving your sexual health exposed.

For those of you who did use condoms, the majority (54%) said you used it for protection against pregnancy not as a means to protect against STIs. This indicates that sexual health awareness may not be top of mind for many people in sexual situations. This is something to think about changing.

At the moment, HIV/AIDS is not a common STI among Trinity students. Chlamydia is the main infection seen by our doctors. But, the same unsafe sex that leads to common but curable infections like Chlamydia, can occasionally also lead to incurable diseases like HIV/AIDS.

To make sure you are informed about how to protect yourself against HIV and AIDS, please read our STI page on the sexual health section of our site.

The 1st of December is World AIDS Day

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