Sexual Health – Staying Safe at University

Written by Charlotte Hunter

A study in 2013 saw that a quarter of university students contract an STI during their first year at University. Approaches towards sex can contrast depending on who you are. University is a place where you are away from your parents and your independence could cause you to become a little reckless. You form new friendships and relationships and are totally unrestricted to live according to your own morals, but are you being safe? This article provides students with brief and basic sexual health knowledge, how to be safe, what to look out for and the nearest clinics to visit if you need to. Please note that most information provided was taken from the NHS.

Contraception

Condoms

Having sex with whom you want and when you want is not a problem. The only thing you need to be aware of is being safe. The simplest and most easy way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and STIs is by using a condom. Those that are reading this should know what they look like and how to apply them by now as they were widely talked about during sex education at school. Condoms can be bought at your local supermarket or drugstore and are available all different shapes and sizes so that they suit you. If you are just about to have sex and are afraid that your partner won’t want to use one don’t be scared as a study revealed some people find it attractive that their sexual partner had the confidence to ask to use one. So be Safe and Use a Condom.

The Pill

The pill is considered to be the most controversial mode of contraception, as recent studies have found that it has an effect on women’s mental health. Our advice would be to test out how this method of contraception works out for you instead of going straight in and using it long term because your mental health matters. Please note that there are many different types of Pill which have been structured to suit different body types and allergies.

The Implant

The contraceptive implant is a small flexible tube about 40mm long that’s inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It’s inserted by a trained professional, such as a doctor, and lasts for three years.

The implant stops the release of an egg from the ovary by slowly releasing progestogen into your body. Progestogen also thickens the cervical mucus and thins the womb lining. This makes it harder for sperm to move through your cervix, and less likely for your womb to accept a fertilised egg. (NHS)

UID Coil

An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse. The IUD works by stopping the sperm and egg from surviving in the womb or fallopian tubes. It may also prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb. The IUD is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method. This means that once it’s in place, you don’t have to think about it each day or each time you have sex. There are several types and sizes of IUD. (NHS)

Common STI’s

If you choose not to use a condom you are putting yourself of contracting these very common STI’s. Please note that you are also potentially putting yourself at risk of contracting life affecting ones that we have chosen not to address in this article. To find more information about STIs please make sure you only take information from reliable sources such as the NHS website. Here you will be able to find all the detailed information you need.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK and is easily passed on during sex. Most people don’t experience any symptoms, so they are unaware they’re infected.

Diagnosing chlamydia is done with a urine test or by taking a swab of the affected area. The infection is easily treated with antibiotics, but can lead to serious long-term health problems if left untreated, including infertility.

Genital warts

Genital warts are small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes that appear on or around your genital or anal area. They’re caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV)human papilloma virus (HPV) and are the second most common STI in England after chlamydia. The warts are usually painless, but you may notice some itching or redness. Occasionally, they cause bleeding. You don’t need to have penetrative sex to pass the infection on because HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact. Several treatments are available for genital warts, including creams and freezing the warts (cryotherapy).

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial STI easily passed on during sex. About 50% of women and 10% of men don’t experience any symptoms and are unaware they’re infected

It’s also possible to have a gonorrhoea infection in your rectum, throat or eyes.

Gonorrhoea is diagnosed using a urine test or by taking a swab of the affected area. The infection is easily treated with antibiotics, but can lead to serious long-term health problems if left untreated, including infertility.

Your Local Clinics.

We understand that sexual health can be an embarrassing topic to talk about. All the staff at clinics have been specially trained and advised on how to talk to people like students like us and always provide a welcoming and trustworthy service. If you choose not to use condoms please make sure you visit the clinic after every sexual partner you have to avoid passing anything on, as it would be less embarrassing to tell one of your sexual partners you have something rather than 10…

You can find the location of these clinics by simply typing ‘sexual health clinics followed by your location’ into the google search engine.

It’s better to be safe than sorry!

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