Sexually Transmitted Infections in College Students

In many academic settings, sexual harassment is prevalent due to the ignorance of the students. Established universities around the world also experience this vice amongst their students. In 1996, there was a study conducted on students who had experienced sexual violence and sexual harassment in major universities. The results showed that about 35% of female students of the universities had experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment. Some claimed they had experienced both the vices. The study also showed that 50% of the male students admitted to sexually harassing their female counterparts.

In recent days, a research conducted by gender ministry amongst 1500 graduate and undergraduate students from 22 different universities show that 40% are sexually harassed in their respective universities. The students elaborated the perpetrators as being the same students they attended university together.

For this study, our main point of interest is the impact of sexual violence as sexually transmitting tool amongst students on campus. Sexual violence brought about by uncontrolled sexual harassment. This makes the consideration of sexual harassment vital to the study. The sexual offences in the student fraternity occur mainly in congested public areas. These include restrooms, parties, bars, clubs and libraries. Sexual violence occurs in these public forums, but in hidden areas (Stanley, 2011).

Self-construal sexual health self-efficacy, Gender and Subjective Norms

The role of self-construal sexual health self-efficacy has been evasive. There have been many efforts to try to elaborate the roles of self-construal. According to Stretcher, self-construal shows the magnitude individuals see themselves. This could be as an individual or in relation to others and their relationship. Individuals with independent self-construal sexual health self-efficacy portray themselves to be unique. They uphold features that distinguish them from the society. Individuals who boasts interdependent self-construal sexual health self-efficacy deem themselves part of society. They define themselves using other society members. Both characters’ are present everyone in the university culture.

Many researchers have claimed that self-construal sexual health self-efficacy of students affected by the influence by the culture surrounding them. It is clear that the sexual behavior of students in different universities may differ. Numerous researches indicate that college students do not use contraceptives consistently when engaging in genital sex. When we view the trends the students have of purchasing condoms, we realize that the effective responses to condom use are low. This portrays a picture as to why the low usage of condoms in the universities. There is an increase in alternative contraceptive use among the students, therefore, increasing the rate of transfer of sexually transmitted diseases. The potential increase in STD’s is high if the perception of controlling pregnancy is fur much important than preventing the spread of STD’s. Research has shown that at least one in five students, in the campus, will contract an STI’s at some point in life in university (Neinstein, 2007).

In universities, majority of the students have engaged in sexual activities. The average age portrayed for people to have first engaged in sex is about 18 years. This age associated with the students leaving high school and experiencing the freedom of colleges and tertiary education systems. The students, at this time, feel that they have become adults and engulfed with the sense of adventure in adult life. In the first year of study, more than half the students do have sex among themselves or with other people. This increases the chances of infections. Moving on to their senior years the numbers rise to about 85% of the total population (Goldman & Hatch, 2000).

The self-identified virgins do not exempt from the risk of sexual infections. Their high-risk sexual behavior of unprotected non-penetrating sex is still risky. They indulge in oral sex and avoid penile penetration while indulging in other unprotected risky non vaginal-penile intercourse. Previously conducted research suggests that condom use is the most popular contraceptives in this era of HIV and AIDS. This study shows that 36.7% of sexually active university students use condoms during intercourse. The study shows that the 36.7%, who use condoms, only use it at times and at other times, they do not. This means that the students are still at risk of being infected with sexually transmitted infections and transmit them, as well.

The use of condoms amongst university students is also gender influenced. In the past generation, women took steps to control pregnancy as they used their cycles to get involved in sexual activities. These methods far forgotten due to the new threat of STIs so the control of sexual activity now lies on both parties involved in the activity. The nature of women to control their conception has led them to brandish condoms before sexual encounters. Their male counterparts might see this as being forward on the idea of sex. Ideally, sex communication is hard for young couples as they depend mainly on gestures and signals towards sexual activity. This makes it more difficult for students to discuss the use of condoms before sex (Devore, 2006).

The diminishing condom use associates itself with high invulnerability perceptions to risk. This can be explained by the nature of college students feeling secure in a sexually safe environment. This can be a monogamous relationship that ascertains the partner’s sexual encounters. They also get involved in researching their partner’s sexual history and experiences. This facilitates them to gain knowledge of the partners HIV and AIDS status. All the three safe sexual environment concepts offer the individuals false protection. Studies have shown that many young people are not involved in monogamy. They deceive themselves as they are engaged in serial monogamy. This means that lust controls their love and trust, therefore, their relationship end quickly after they have exploited their fantasies.

The records in the research show that university students have averaged 2.3 monogamous sexual encounters a year. They claimed they were in a monogamous relationship during this encounters. 19% of the respondents in the research admitted to having other sexual encounters while they were still involved with their partners in their monogamous relationship. Therefore, the university students should not assume that monogamous relationship is a sexually safe environment (Mazza, 2011).

The basis of sexual safe environment due to the knowledge of the partners’ history is also oblique. Studies have shown that numerous students misrepresent their sexual history. One quarter of the university, students deceive their partners on their sexual experiences in order to gain sexual favors. There is no one who can tell the others STI status without testing. Many diseases do not produce visible symptoms especially in women. There might not be any outward signs to the diseases, so some students might infect others unknowingly. HIV symptoms might take from a few days to years to manifest in the patient. Many students are confident about their HIV status, but base their knowledge according to symptoms they don’t manifest (Dindia & Canary, 2006).

The use of condoms amongst the university students should be emphasized having detailed the necessities above. Huber et al, 2009 portrays the embarrassment the students pass through in the mere purchase of the commodity. The use of condoms should not be associated with class or style. There is nothing shameful about saving one’s life.


There is a lot of literature is the media that misinform the universities. There are articles claiming that the immune system is capable of fighting some of the sexually transmitted diseases without medication spreading around. An example is an article written by Savage that misinforms students on HPV. The article in the alternative students’ handbook claims that the immune system is capable of fighting of warts. This is totally incorrect. HPV is an incurable disease. Surgery or treatment cure warts associated with the disease superficially, but the underlying virus is not curable.

HPV virus contains numerous strands. There are only a few strands of the HPV virus that cause genital warts. This is a noteworthy fact to consider as cervical damage can be brought about by strands of the HPV virus not associated with genital warts or any other external fissures. It is also necessary to know that not all genital warts cause cervical cancer (Neinstein, 2007). The misinformation might bring irreversible damages to university students. This is because studies have shown that university students tend to believe in information that favors their decisions. With this case, the students who fear disclosing their sexual ailments undoubtedly believe in the information given. These groups of students portray the larger percentage of the total sexually active university fraternity.

Social Stigmas

Stigma is the negative reaction to sexual transmitted diseases that cause fear, rejection and isolation from others. It links itself to negative beliefs, negative stereotypes, and negative attitudes. Stigmatized individuals fear rejection causing them to isolates themselves from the society. The rest of the non-stigmatized persons in the society show negative reactions, negative beliefs and attitudes. They perpetuate stereotypic attitudes to the victim.

Stigma is the greatest barrier in health seeking for the sexually active university students. It hinders encouragement efforts by authorities to students for their access to health services. Savages article is a poor resource for its misinformation to students, but it is a beneficial factor in relation to sexual transmitted infection stigma. There are few articles elaborating the impact of sexual transmitted infections stigma. This is contrary to the fact that numerous articles on Sexually Transmitted Infections can be found in the libraries. The scarcity of literature can be linked to the fact the idea of stigma is new there is still ongoing research on the issue.

The concurrent researches carried out in the area produced new information with conflicting evidence. There are gross exaggerations on some statistics on Sexually Transmitted Infections. This is because stigma causes the public to hide there status of infections. The fact that people have care about what others perceive of them enhances the matter. This leads to most STI’s going unreported r untreated. The numbers of those infected can be deemed as estimation. Most articles present of sexually related stigmas base their research on HIV and AIDS stigmas. These can only be related to STI stigmas to a certain level. The fact that AIDS is a non curable disease differentiates the stigmas associated with it compared to STI’s which most can be treated. In the eighties, AIDS associates itself with the gays and created another sexual stigma in the gay society. The people then termed AIDS as a Gay-related immune deficiency (GRID).

Stigma varies with the conditions of the persons carrying the disease. Terminally ill patients’ get stigmatized, but those with contagious terminally ill diseases get stigmatized more that the others. This explanation does not differentiate why STI’s are more stigmatized than skin diseases. Another fact comes into play. Infections acquired from risky sexual behaviors, which are secret, are more stigmatized than the ones acquired from public contamination.

In the era before the discovery of HIV and AIDS, some STI’s cures had not been discovered. Syphilis was the most stigmatized sexually transmitted infection in the world. People feared being branded by modes associated with reproduction and love. Europeans feared association with sexual diseases and infections. Most people deemed themselves to be pure and clean in front of their peers. This was true for both the single and married individuals. Married individuals would not taint their perfect marriage scene with infidelity proven by sexually transmitted infections. The singles, on the other hand, would not taint their image of purity and virginity amongst their peers proven by STI’s. After the discovery, of the treatment of syphilis in the later years, anxiety and trauma that caused stigmatization eased. HIV/AIDS came in to replace syphilis as the most stigmatized disease. It’s a deadly disease that affects and influences the lives of both the affected and the people around. Once it was diagnosed the most stigmatized, there has been jitters among the people and government on the appropriate measures to be taken to control and prevent it. This is because of association with love and reproduction; furthermore, it was incurable and fatal. The university student brought up in this era associate societal taboos with sexual activity. Consequences of stigmatized infections reflect to poor health care, discrimination in hostel allotment, loss of friends and loss of employment.

Secrecy contributes to social and STI’s stigmas. Sexual behavior a secretive, private matter and talking about it with friends and partners are difficult. The fear of rejection controls individuals in the decision to disclose the sexual illness status. This fear of rejection makes people restrain themselves from new relationships. The isolation turns into internalized oppression as they believe a healthy relationship is not for them.

Gender and Social Stigmas

Research has shown that women contract sexually transmitted infections easily than men. This is because women’s genitalia place itself in the body cavity. The mucous nature of the genitalia easily attracts and maintains disease carrying vectors. The exterior nature of the male genitals restricts many vectors from accessing the mucous interior. This does not mean that the male group cannot contact sexual disease. A research by Barth showed a respondent who believed that he cannot get STI’s after ejaculation. The vectors are mobile and move towards areas where there less infested. This makes them head to the interior areas of the male genitalia. Lesbians are also at risk of attaining STI’s as it does not take ejaculation to contract diseases but moist skin contact.

A study by Barth tries to find reasons why college students avoid Sexually Transmitted Infection and disease testing. They discovered that the university students avoid getting tested for STI’s because of the stigma. They avoided the tests they perceived negative consequence. The students got worried about what others would perceive of them. The thought of a promiscuous and irresponsible perception affected them. The university students feared a positive result becoming embarrassed. The facts listed above attest social stigmas attached to STI’s and the sexually infected persons. The Barth study also showed the weaknesses of the students in the perception of identifying infected individuals. Their mode of identity of the infected person bases on the fact that promiscuity should be punished by STI’s. Many of the students branded most of the promises lot to be ill. This was not true because the promiscuous may be using protection.

Relating Race and Class to Social Stigmas

A study by Dr. Herek portrays that African Americans fear the risk of sexual infection than the others. The women showed more compassion for people with AIDS than the men. African American community perceives AIDS as an epidemic killing their family, and there is fear and stigma about the disease. The Whites showed fear of AIDS and attached the stigma beliefs to those affected most. The differences between races, class and gender are due to biological dispositions. Women are at a disadvantage as cervix is more susceptible to contracting sexual infections than a man’s urethra. Number sexual partners, coupled with the onset of sex contribute to contracting an STI. Research shows that black men lead in lifetime partners association, placing them at higher risk.


H1: College students with independent self-construal link self-efficacy (SHSE) directly to their own health clinic use for STI screening and prevention than those with interdependent self-construal sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE).

H2: College students with independent self-construal sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE) report to the university health center in relation to STI treatment than interdependent self-construal sexual health self efficacy (SHSE).

H3: Interdependent self-construal students’ sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE) relates to subjective norms of sexual health attitudes than independent self-construal sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE).

H3a: Interdependent sexual health attitudes self-construal sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE) relates to normative STI screening and treatment independent self-construal sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE).

H3b: Interdependent sexual health attitudes self-construal sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE) relates to the motivation to use health clinics than independent sexual health attitudes self-construal sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE).

H4: Males and Females are different when directly expressing health clinic use according to sexual health self efficacy (SHSE)

H5: Males and Females are different in reporting their sexual health experience to the university health center.

H6: Females interdependent self-construal sexual health self-efficacy (SHSE) and males have independent self-construal.

Significance of Study

This study is significant in identifying the efficiency of the clinics in controlling and promoting preventative measures against STIs among college students. The priority population is 25 years and under. This study attempts to understand the behaviors and attitudes of the young adults towards prevention and clinical access. The study also examines factors that shape the behaviors and attitudes of the young adults. Health issues in the university that entail inappropriate sexual behavior are crucial in the research. There is evidence in previous research that indicates 87% of humans aged 20 to 25 years have in sexual intercourse. The evidence also shows that of this figure 90% do not understand the meaning of risky sexual behavior. This is an alarming statistics and signifies the need for conducting of the research.


For the project, the researcher assumes that the participants of his survey differ in attitude, experiences and perceptions. Other assumptions are that the participants understand the purpose of the survey and they respond accurately and honestly to the survey.


The study delimits to certain undergraduate group of students in Universities. The group comes from one university for easier control of participants.


The study has numerous limitations due to its target sample. The study is not random. All the participants voluntarily engage in the survey. The data collected might be skewed due self-reporting. Self-reporting produces unverifiable data. The researcher limits the survey content to avoid monotony, and this limits the results obtained. The results cannot be generalized as the sample size come from one university.

For reliable and valid results, a wider sample would be efficient. Some demographics neglected to emphasize on the specific age group of university students. The proposal approval board does not allow publishing of material that would harm participants. This hampers my line of questioning and limits the results.

The survey will miss demographic factors as ethnicity, which determines people’s behavior. The study limits to college students with heterosexual behavior. This will be people of ages 18 to 25 years.


Devore, D. M. (2006). Parent-child relations: new research. London: Nova Publishers.

Dindia, K., & Canary, D. J. (2006). Sex differences and similarities in communication. New York: Routledge.

Goldman, M. B., & Hatch, M. (2000). Women and health. New York: Gulf Professional Publishing.

Mazza, D. (2011). Women’s Health in General Practice. Sydney: Elsevier Australia.

Neinstein, L. S. (2007). Adolescent health care: a practical guide. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Stanley, C. L. (2011). Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service. New York: Diane Publishing.

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