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Volume 70, Issue 132, Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Life & Arts

Protect yourself from ‘pingpongi

The Remedy

Donica' Beckett

Pingpong may conjure images of the classic game, but the phrase can also refer to the act of two partners passing a sexually transmitted disease back and forth. On Thursday the UH Wellness Center and the Cougar Peer Education Program will host the Ban Ping-Pong campaign in the Rotunda of the UH Recreation and Wellness Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Students will be able to learn about the effects of chlamydia and gonorrhea and how to protect themselves from the harmful pingpong epidemic. Small giveaways such as pingpong balls and T-shirts will be available. 

"This campaign focuses on reinfection. We know that through research, men and women are going to continue to get the same sexually transmitted disease within the same year if they donit protect themselves and get tested," UH Wellness Director Gail Gillan said.

According to Ban Ping-Pong, STDs have reached epidemic rates in the population of 15 to 24-year-olds. The most common STDs include chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are bacterial infections of the genitalia, and human papillomavirus, a virus with no known vaccine or cure. 

According to the Student Health Center, the highest reported STD on campus is chlamydia. Additionally, a study last year by the University of Carolina Chapel Hill found that one in two sexually active young adults will contract a sexually transmitted disease by age 25. 

"College students should be conscious of their sexual health because when left untreated, future fertility can be affected. Some females donit know they have it, and when they try to have children, they canit," Demori Driver, a graduate assistant at the UH Wellness Center, said. 

With chlamydia and gonorrhea, there are often no symptoms. According to Ban Ping-Pong, 75 percent of women and 50 percent of men donit experience symptoms. For this reason, frequent testing is vital. 

"There is a lot of embarrassment that goes along with addressing STDs. We need to get away from thinking that contracting an STD has anything to do with a personis character," Driver said. 

The UH Health Center offers free testing days for STD and HIV twice a year in June and December, but affordable and confidential testing is available year-round. Call (713) 743-5151 for rate information.

All currently enrolled students are eligible for services at the health center. The UH Health Center is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

For more information on the Ban Ping Pong campaign, visit or call UH Wellness at (713) 743-5430 to request more information or invite a speaker to a campus program. 

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