As of Thursday, Oct. 10, Student Health Services confirmed four positive cases of chlamydia on campus. The positives are both male and female and spread throughout all the classes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) in the United States. It is often considered a silent infection, as many who are infected initially don’t show any symptoms. However, left unchecked, chlamydia can cause serious damage to the reproductive organs in both men and women.
In response to the cases, Albion College hosted a safe sex program in Wesley Hall on Thursday to brief students on the dangers of STIs and prevention.
Cheryl Krause, director of Student Health Services, recommends students use condoms for every type of sex, get tested for STIs and have their partners tested as well.
Krause also stressed the importance of communicating with one’s partner before sex.
Dr. Kelly Kozlowski, ‘02 alumna and emergency room physician at Henry Ford Fairlane, also offered advice for students.
According to Kozlowski, one in 15 sexually active women ages 15-19 have chlamydia.
“Even without being labeled an outbreak, it is always present,” Kozlowski said. “Luckily, it is an easily avoidable disease by abstaining from intercourse, not engaging in genital contact with more than one partner and having a new partner checked for STDs prior to engaging in intercourse.”
According to Krause , cases of chlamydia are reported annually, though not generally at the same time.
“We normally see six to 10 cases of chlamydia over the course of the year,” Krause said. “However, it is the fact that we have a cluster of cases that is unusual.”
In fact, in Krause’s 15 years at Albion, she has not identified a cluster of chlamydia cases until now.
Kozlowski believes even though the total number of infections is low, STIs should not be taken lightly.
“An STI is never a simple matter,” Kozlowski said. “For STIs being so common, there is a stigma attached to them and several people would rather not know about their own status, and are afraid to ask the status of their partners.”
Krause urged students to re-test in three months and said the only way to stop the spread of chlamydia is to stop having sex of any kind.
Kozlowski offered parting words of encouragement.
“Despite being at a small Christian [United Methodist Church-related] school with really great academics that attracts awesome people, nobody engaging in sexual intercourse is immune to STIs,” Kozlowski said. “It is a great wake-up call that this unfortunate outbreak has brought attention to STIs, but they have always been present. You can make good decisions and protect yourself, your future spouse and your future children today. Make the next right decision.”
Photo by Spencer White
This story, originally posted Oct. 11, was updated Oct. 14 to reflect
that Albion College is historically related to the United Methodist