Sexual Health

let's talk about sexual health

According to the WHO, Sexual health is “a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.”

Sexual health includes: STD prevention, birth control, consent, sexual orientation & identity, relationships, and more. 

Take charge of your sexual health:

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  • Contraception

    There are many different types of contraception and there is a lot to consider when choosing the right one for you. Deciding which method to use can be overwhelming and confusing. Don’t worry! We are here to help. You can receive contraception counseling at the Student Health Service to review your options. You can also check out Bedsider.org to learn more about the types of contraception that are available and compare their effectiveness, side effects, costs, and more.

  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases (sometimes referred to as STIs) are infections or diseases that can be passed from one person to another through sexual activity, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. STDs include chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis, and more.

    STDs are very common among college students. People aged 15-24 account for half of new infections in the US every year.

    STDs are preventable. If you have sex, here is how you can protect yourself and your sexual partner(s) from STDs:

    • Practice abstinence: The surest way to avoid STDs. This means not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
    • Use condoms: Using a condom correctly every time you have sex can help you avoid STDs. Condoms lessen the risk of infection for all STDs. However, you can still get certain STDs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s skin, even when using a condom.
    • Have fewer partners: Agree to only have sex with one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure you both get tested to know for sure that neither of you has an STD. This is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs.
    • Get vaccinated: The most common STD can be prevented by a vaccine. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and can help you avoid HPV-related health problems, like genital warts and some cancers.
    • Talk with your partner: Talk with your partner(s) about STDs and staying safe before having sex. It might be uncomfortable to start the conversation, but protecting your health is your responsibility.
    • Get Tested: Many STDs don’t have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems. The only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to get tested.

     

    If you test positive... it’s okay! Many STDs are curable and all are treatable. If either you or your partner is infected with an STD that can be cured, both of you need to start treatment immediately to avoid getting re-infected.

  • Sexual Health & COVID-19

    COVID-19 isn’t an STD. But you can get COVID-19 if you have close physical contact with someone who has it. As a reminder, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person, between people who are within about 6 feet of one another. In general, the more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

    Intimate activities that involve being physically close to someone, or coming into contact with their spit — like kissing — can easily spread COVID-19. Here are some quick tips for staying safe:

    • The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to try to avoid close, physical contact — including sex — with anyone who doesn’t live with you. The safest sexual activity is solo or remote.
    • If you do have close physical contact with others outside your home, only have sex or kiss if both partners are feeling well. Do not engage in sexual activity with anyone experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19. If you or your partner are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19, seek medical care.
    • If you are sexually active with someone outside of your household, consider minimizing the number of sexual partners you have to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.
    • Discuss COVID-19 risk with your partner(s) like you would any other safe sex topic (contraception, sexual history, etc.). Ask your partner(s) if they’ve had any symptoms of COVID-19, if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, diagnosed with COVID-19, etc.

    These are just a few tips. For more information, check out these links: 

     

  • How can the Student Health Service help?
  • Online Resources

     

    Although we encourage students to get tested for STDs in a healthcare facility, there are some at-home testing options. Listed below are various at-home testing options that vary in price and in the STDs they test for. These at-home options have not been evaluated and are not recommended by Student Health. Please research on your own if you believe they might be the best option for you. If you are unsure of which STDs to test for or do not understand your tests results, consult with a healthcare provider.