UF’s student population might reflect the trend of young women on hormonal contraceptives being less likely to use condoms, even after they stop using the contraceptives.
The trend was apparent in a recent study of 15- to 24-year-old patients at a California Planned Parenthood.
“I don’t know a percentage, but I’ve heard of it enough to say that students at UF are affected by this,” GatorWell sexual health educator Samantha Evans said.
GatorWell surveys conducted during Spring 2009 and 2010 found the No. 1 reported contraceptive method among students was birth control, followed by the male condom, Evans said. No. 3 was the combination of both.
She said although it’s safest to use both methods to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, students who are considering stopping one method should carefully consider the decision. She encouraged students to talk to their partners and health care providers.
Evans said she thinks students in monogamous relationships often begin to trust one another and then feel that condoms are “unnecessary.”
“It’s not a laziness thing. It’s just one less thing they have to think about when they’re about to have sex,” she said.
Phylis Craig, a registered nurse practitioner at UF’s Student Health Care Center Women’s Clinic, said she would estimate condom usage is even less than the study suggests.
Craig said more students’ STD screenings are coming back positive. She said students should be cautious when not using condoms.
“Birth control is for birth control. Condoms are STD protection,” Craig said. “If you’re not using condoms, you’re definitely taking a risk. Using condoms is the only way to protect yourself.”