TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Leon County Health Department Administrator Homer Rice says he's noticing a pattern in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases in college students.
Whenever students from local colleges and universities go home for the holidays, he says they often come back with a souvenir they didn't expect. Rice says that during every break (spring, summer, and winter), there is often a breakout in STDs.
"When they come back here, they're beginning to feel burning itching, or discharge," Rice said.
Rice says when students leave, the rate of bacterial STDs drops, and, when they come back, it increases.
"About two weeks when they come back, we see a increase in the number of diagnoses," Rice said. "They may have picked up the disease at home, but there does seem to be a general increase."
Rice says that the most prevalent STD among those of college age (15-24) is Chlamydia, and Leon County ranks above the state average for the disease.
"Our Chlamydia cases are very high. That's probably because you're a silent carrier, especially if you're a man," Rice said. "You can pass it and not know it."
Rice says that people tend to forget how easy it can be to spread a disease. Florida A&M University Student Theora Brooks says that she thinks students may be too trusting in their relationships.
"I think trust is the number one," Brooks said. "They feel like if they can trust the person, they can trust that the person can tell the truth about their status. And that isn't always the case because that person may not even know their status."
So what's Rice's advice on stopping the trend?
"We would like to see people in a monogamous relationship," Rice said, "But, if you're going to be promiscuous, be safe."