South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) (01.23.12) -
The number of college-age students getting STDs is rising,
with about 36,000 Floridians in their early 20s having
contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis in 2010. That
amounted to about 3 percent of the age group. New HIV case
numbers also have risen over the past decade, though not as
much as STDs.
Plenty of young couples are in steady, monogamous
relationships, college students interviewed said, but many
acknowledged the prevalence of casual sex among peers, with
the Internet and social media increasing the choice of
partners. "You often see hookups in media representations, but
it's rare that you hear the characters talk about safe sex,"
said Courtney Weaver, a sexual-health educator at Florida
In South Florida, clubbing is a large part of the culture, and
alcohol use and underage drinking have grown among college-age
students in recent years, studies show. Safe sex is even less
likely when alcohol is involved, educators noted.
"We know when kids drink, their judgment goes out the window,"
said Sande Gracia Jones, a professor in Florida International
University's (FIU) College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Students hook up "to get what they need without being
emotionally involved," Weaver said. There is no shame about it
in many cases, students said, and hooking up can blur into
"There's a lot of serial monogamy," said Albert Garcia, an FIU
senior who educates students about sexual health. "They're
monogamous every couple of months and end up having four, five
or six monogamous relationships in a year."
Smartphone applications such as Skout and Streetspark are
popular among young adults looking for casual sex. Through
such apps, which use GPS technology to locate people, people
can exchange messages and photos and arrange to meet.