It may be common knowledge that sex is a popular issue among college students, but the numbers speak for themselves.
“Studies have shown that 83% of NKU students are sexually active,” said Shirley Fledderjohn, a nurse at the Health, Counseling and Prevention Services Office at NKU.
The Health Office helps educate students about sex
“Our job in Student Health is to promote good health, and that includes good sexual health,” Fledderejohn said. “Helping students avoid unwanted pregnancies is part of this.”
The most common age for pregnancy ranges from 19 to 24-year-olds.
“Most pregnancies are unplanned,” said Michelle Kay, a campus nurse.
Kay said that pregnancies rank second in health issues seen at the student health office – with colds and allergies being the number one ailment treated.
Sexually transmitted diseases are third.
Abstinence is the most effective way to prevent becoming pregnant and/ or getting an STD, but if someone is sexually active there are ways to have safer sex.
According to Fledderjohn, “If you use the [birth control] pill perfectly (every day), it has a 99 percent effectiveness rate. The condom, with perfect use, is 97 percent effective, however, that rate decreases to 86 percent with typical use, meaning that it isn’t used every time and/or breakage occurs.”
Ann M. Dollins, assistant dean of Professional Studies and a certified nurse-midwife, said, “I think sexual awareness is important for everyone. Sexuality is part of our lives… It’s a gift and we should honor it as such…and with honor comes responsibility.”
“Nurses place a high level of importance on communication,” Dollins said. “Students need information on how to prevent [STDs] and access to health care providers who can treat them; they deserve it more than anyone else.”
Dr. Nancy Hancock, assistant professor of philosophy at NKU said, “sex education is very important. Knowledge is important.”
Kay said her goal is to let NKU students know that the office exists.
“When I first started, upper classmen (juniors and seniors) would say they didn’t know that we were here,” she said. “I wish that there were more services here, more office space.”
According to Fledderjohn, not enough students are taking advantage of these services.
“Students can educate themselves by coming to our office and taking our brochures, speaking with the nurses, checking out the web,” said Fledderjohn.
The registered nurse can help assess and evaluate illnesses, perform basic first aid for minor wounds/ injuries, confidential pregnancy testing, emergency contraception (also known as the morning after pill), among other services.
Twice a month a nurse practitioner from the Northern Kentucky Health Department comes to campus to perform gynecological examinations (pap test/breast exams), to assess and treat sexually transmitted infections and to disperse birth control medications and condoms.
All of these services are confidential and provided free to current NKU students (with proper identification), faculty and staff.
Some services by the nurse practitioner, open to both men and women, require a $5 fee. These services include physical and medical health examinations, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses such as respiratory infection, flu symptoms, or urinary tract infections, tuberculosis tests and flu shots.
In addition, the office provides counseling services to help students adjust to college life, solving problems in relationships, victimization due to date rape, sexual abuse, and/ or physical abuse and many others.
“We’re free, we’re good and we’re nice,” Kay said.
Anyone interested in these services can contact the Health, Counseling and Prevention Services Office, located in the University Center, room 300, at (859) 572-5650. Office hours are 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments are available on a walk-in basis. Also visit their website at “http://www.nku.edu/~hcp.