Spreading knowledge, not diseases: a study on STDs

Honor students Ken Murphy, Daniela Rios, Sarah Tipton and Gabriela Hilgart created a survey distributed at Illinois Valley Community College to test the knowledge of students about STD’s. IVCC Institutional Research Department’s Matt Suerth helped the students to organize a comprehensive survey that could be filled out quickly in the classroom. These surveys were administered in different classes at IVCC. The survey asked the students questions about the most common Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in the United States, if there was a limit to receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and which STDs are curable and which are not. Out of the 163 that were surveyed, 37 percent believed that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was the most common STD in the United States. Chlamydia is actually the most common STD in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The HPV vaccine age range that is recommended for men and women was another question on this survey. Forty-four percent stated that they did not know what the age limit was for women, and 50 percent stated that they were uncertain of the age limit for men. Leading to the next question, the survey asked if Chlamydia is curable. This STD is curable with antibiotics but 25
percent of the surveys taken stated that it was not curable. This confirmed the hypothesis that IVCC students lacked knowledge of STDs. This information compelled them to create a brochure which they hope to place on campus to provide information on STDs to the students of IVCC.
The brochure required research, causing the honors students to reach out to Planned Parenthood, the LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam County Health Departments and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With this information the honors group gathered the data to incorporate within a brochure. In addition, the students also looked into what programs and information other Illinois institutions offer to their students. They found that bigger institutions such as Elgin Community College, College of DuPage and Wilbur Wright College offer a variety of services and information for the prevention and treatment of STD’s to their students. The services at each college range from STD seminars, contraceptives, referrals and STD testing
for their students. However, smaller institutions similar to IVCC such as Kankakee and Richlan Community College offer little to no information for their students. The honor students feel it is important that the smaller colleges get the same amount of information as the larger institutions because STD unawareness is a real issue everywhere. It is the hope that this information will draw the attention of the Illinois Valley so more people can be informed about STDs and their dangers. The honor students were concerned for the safety of their classmates, as they were not able to answer confidently without research. If these students did not have the knowledge about STDs, were other IVCC students just as ill informed? Without a decent understanding, these diseases could spread at an alarming rate. The concern of the lack of knowledgebecame the center of the honors students’