Include Condoms in Your Back-to-School Supplies

Your back-to-school shopping list should include a variety pack of condoms. Condoms may save your life. Even more than pencils, calculators, books and iPods, they may be the most important item to take back to school. School and college days are an important time of life where new friends are made, new ideas and interests are explored, and where life can be cut short by ignoring the biological reality of human life and culture.

According to scientific data presented at a national conference on sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) in March 2008, more than one in four American girls between the ages of 14 and 19 are infected with at least one STD. This is a total of more than 3 million young women at risk for serious health consequences, including early death. The majority of these infections could have been prevented through proper use of condoms.

The most common disease infecting American girls and young women is human papilloma virus (HPV), which is known to cause cancer and genital warts. There are more than 20 different high-risk strains of this virus. More than 18% of girls tested positive for HPV infection. Even though a vaccine has been developed to prevent infection with a few strains, most of the strains going around are not affected by the vaccine.

The only way a woman can prevent acquiring a sexually transmitted disease is to either abstain from sex or to use a condom when having sex with a boy or man who is infected. And, don't forget that boys and men also get genital warts and cancer from HPV, including cancer of the penis. Even when sexual activity is limited to oral sex, the use of condoms is important. HPV is well known to cause cancer of the mouth and throat.

In addition to the high rate of human papilloma virus infections, teenage girls in this study were also infected by chlamydia (3.9%), which can cause infertility without causing symptoms, trychomoniasis (2.5%), and herpes (1.9%). What is worse, among teenage girls who were infected, over 15% had more than one type of infection. Of girls who reported having only one lifetime sexual partner, over 20% had at least one sexually transmitted disease. What does that say about the number of lifetime sexual partners of their boyfriends?

Not all the news is bad. Many people find their soul mates by going back to school. Lifelong loves often bloom on campus. By getting ALL the necessary back to school supplies, including a back to school condom pack, you can help assure a long, healthy and happy life.
By Kathleen Scarlett-Mancos
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