Disclosing STD statistics could benefit students’ health

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    In the wake of recent studies concerning human papillomavirus, the student body should be able to know the number of people affected by the virus at TCU.

    Initially, HPV was known to impact mostly women, but it has also become a growing concern for men.

    Being naive about a virus like HPV could be detrimental. Students would benefit from knowing the number of those affected because they could take extra preventative measures.

    HPV is the No. 1 sexually-transmitted disease on college campuses and TCU confirms evidence of this trend. But it is unclear as to how many of the university’s 8,668 students have HPV.

    The Health Center’s policy is to not release statistics concerning the number of students at TCU who are infected with HPV — or any STD for that matter, said Karen Bell, assistant dean of Campus Life. The health center does not disclose the number for privacy reasons, Bell said.

    However, Frank LoMonte, executive director at the Student Press Law Center, said giving out a number like this would only break privacy laws if individual students could be identified through the number.

    This is not a TCU issue only.

    SMU also doesn’t publicly release the number of those affected with HPV, said Robert Bobo, assistant director of news and communications at SMU.

    He said the main reason was that it would not be an accurate number, because students infected with HPV may not have found out through the university’s health center.

    This was also TCU’s reasoning.

    Regardless of how accurate it may be, knowing the number of students who know they are infected would give the student body an idea of how prevalent the virus is, aiding them to make more conscious decisions when it comes to sex.