We were very interested in the article, “Underprotected: Only two-thirds of Duke students reported practicing safe sex,” in the September 11 issue of The Chronicle in which Duke students reported their sexual behaviors in a survey. Among those sexually active students, 66 percent used condoms for vaginal sex and 3 percent for oral sex. The authors were rightly concerned in reporting that condom use for anal sex dropped from 60 percent in 2012 (at time of an earlier study) to 22.7 percent in 2016. However, of this percent, it was not clear how many were men who have sex with men, the highest risk group for acquiring HIV.

At Know Your Status, a Duke student-led program, we have been providing free rapid HIV testing for students since 2006. We have trained dozens of students in safe sex counseling and testing, and we have collected sexual behavior data as part of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved study which has yielded results that have been presented in various conferences and medical journals. We recently reported that among 188 men who have sex with men, 54.2 percent reported using a condom at last sexual encounter. It is interesting that our results for MSM differ substantially from what is being reported in The Chronicle. We felt that this was an interesting discrepancy to raise.

We offer free HIV testing and counseling to the entire Duke student community every Monday and Thursday in the Student Wellness Center. Additionally, for students who feel they are at high risk for HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis is available at Student Health and the Duke PrEP Clinic. The CDC defines a high risk individual as a man or woman engaging engaging in a sexual relationship with an HIV positive parents, having unprotected sex, or using injection drugs.

We encourage peer education groups such as PASH to refer students to us for HIV testing.

- Carleigh Smith, Trinity '19