A poll has revealed that 23% of university students catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI) before the end of their first year at university. T
he infection most likely to be picked up was chlamydia, followed by herpes and genital warts.
The research, conducted by the team at www.shagatuni.com, polled a total of 2,177 young adults from the UK who had graduated from university within the past year, asking them about their sexual habits and preferences whilst studying at university. All those taking part had remained single during their university years.
Students were asked if they had caught an STI from a sexual partner during their first year of studying at university, with 23% admitting that they had done so. Furthermore, 21% admitted to finding out they’d contracted an STI after their first year at university and before they finished their studies.
Anyone who had caught an STI whilst at university was asked how they had found out. 32% said that they had been contacted by someone they slept with, who had broken the news to them that they had an STI and so they should get checked too. 27% used a free testing kit handed out to them whilst at university and the remaining respondents had gone to the clinic for a check-up.
89% of students polled admitted that they didn’t use condoms for the majority of their sexual encounters whist at university. Furthermore, 73% admitted that the majority of their sexual encounters that took place during their university years had happened when they were under the influence of alcohol.
More than half, 54%, of the respondents who admitted to contracting an STI whilst at university said they were unable to recall exactly who passed the infection on to them.
When asked to divulge which sexually transmitted infection had caught during their time at university, if applicable to them, Chlamydia emerged as the most likely STI, with 59% of students admitting they’d caught it, with herpes and genital warts following behind with 18% and 14% respectively.
Respondents were asked if going through the embarrassment of an STI and having to source treatment for it (if applicable to them) had encouraged them to always practice safe sex, but only 31% agreed that this was the case. 67% of these students claimed that they didn’t like condoms, and would rather put themselves at risk of developing another STI rather than use one.
The website was also interested to find out which students would emerge as the most “sexually adventurous” in terms of the number of sexual partners they had been with whilst at university, based on which subject they were studying. The top subjects emerged as:
1. Drama/Theatre Studies- 28 (average number of sexual partners whilst at university)
2. Dance -25
3. Media Studies/Public Relations - 22
4. Biology- 19
5. Philosophy and Ethics- 17
6. English Language/Literature- 15
7. Sports Science- 13
8. History of Art- 13
9. Law- 11
10. Geography- 10
Creator of the Shag At Uni website, Tom Thurlow, made the following comments about the findings of the study: “I decided to carry out this study as the site always notices a huge increase in new members to the website during fresher’s weeks, as this is obviously when many of the members will be meeting up with individuals they have met on the site for casual sex. I do not believe that being promiscuous and having casual sex are bad traits, however I am passionate about promoting safe sex, as well as the use of condoms amongst the student population of the UK.”