As a college student, sexual health may not be your biggest concern. You already have a lot on your plate. However, sexual health is very important for college students and there are many things to consider such as risk, symptoms, birth control, preventing STD’s, and getting tested. Be strategic, have a plan, and take control of how you want to approach your sexual health. Syracuse University Health Services has everything you need right here!
As college students it can be difficult to plan ahead but you will want to be ready if you are going to have sex. It does not hurt to have some condoms with you if you are going to a party or going on a date with someone special. Whether you have sex or not you will at least be prepared and prevent an unwanted pregnancy or STI.
Talking about sex, STDs and testing isn’t always easy. Rise up, stand tall, and get yourself talking! It’s all about feeling confident in knowing that you are doing the right thing! But comfort does come with time and practice. Talking with a partner is a chance to learn what they do to practice safer sex, what turns them on, and what sexual things you might enjoy doing together. Even if you feel a little nervous, that’s ok, a lot of people do. But having an open and honest conversation is always the way to go.
Some people choose to not have sex because they are worried about STDs. The risk of getting an STD is like other risk in life, take driving a car for example. Some people might choose to not drive a car because they are afraid of getting into a car accident. In the same fashion that we can reduce car accident injuries by simply wearing a seat belt, the same idea can be applied to practicing safe sex.
The same way that seat belts serve as safety supplies to reduce car accident risk, and make it safe to ride in cars, Condoms, dental dams, and other supplies make for safer sex experience. Safer sex supplies can significantly reduce the risk of STDs and pregnancies.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (or Infection)
1 in 2 people will have an STD. You can get STD(s) from having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. STD(s) such as chlamydia, HIV, and HPV are on the rise among young adults. HPV can cause some major health problems such as cervical cancer. However, most types of HPV can be prevented with a vaccine.
(**HPV vaccine is offered to both men and women at SUHS**).
Get Yourself Tested
“90% of SU students think STI’s are a problem on campus but only 35% of students take advantage of the free HIV test.”
Students get one free HIV test per academic year at SU Health Services. Getting yourself tested for STI’s (especially if you have engaged in unprotected sex) is an important factor in preventing and reducing the risk of STIs. Some STI’s are curable, therefore early detecting can prevent other health issues from happening. Many STD’s are treatable, knowing you have one can help prevent spreading it to others, and also prevent further health issues. Get tested so you can make sound sexual health decisions.
Where to get condoms?
Health Services (Next to the pharmacy) there is a table with condoms, lubricants, and dental dams. Reach inside the bucket and grab what you need. It is all FREE.Members of organizations, fraternities/sororities, RAs, or someone designated in a dorm hall can grab a bag of free condoms at the front desk of Health Services.Convenient stores sell condoms and many are open late (Walmart, CVS, etc.)
Condomsense! Tips for Effective Correct Condom Use:
**Condoms are most effective when used CORRECTLY, EVERYTIME you have sex, from start to finish. **
• Should be used for vaginal, anal, and oral sex
• Use proper lubrication to prevent condom breakage
• Place at tip of erect penis, while holding tip of condom about ½ inch, rolled side out, roll to base of penis
• Squeeze tip to remove trapped air that could cause condom to break during intercourse
• To Dispose: Always handle to prevent semen escape by holding rim of condom and gently pulling off (before losing erection)
• Remove, wrap or tie to prevent semen escape and throw away.
Visual Learner? Take a look at this video from Planned Parenthood on proper condom usage.
Safe Oral Sex: Dental Dams
Remember STI’s can be transmitted orally as well! Use Dentals dams when engaging in oral sex. Dental dams are thin pieces of square latex that can be placed on the vulva or the anus when the mouth or tongue is used to sexually arouse a partner. Dental dams are usually flavored as well.
Dental dams can be obtained at Health Services for FREE. They are next to the condoms which are right next to the pharmacy in Health Services.
**While these forms of birth control are effective, it is important to remember that male condoms and female condoms are the only methods that prevent STI’s. Using condoms and a hormone based contraceptive will greatly reduce chances of a pregnancy and will protect you from STI’s.
To make an appointment with one of our providers to discuss contraceptive methods and testing for STDs call us at: 315-443-9005.