University Health Services provides accurate information and reliable resources concerning sexual health. The following information and links should help you make informed decisions about your sexual well-being. If you have any additional concerns or questions, please visit us at University Health Services, located in Bennett Infirmary on campus.
- Physical intimacy requires thought, communication, planning, and responsibility.
- Before having sex with someone you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do we both want the same thing (casual, one time only event, relationship)?
- How am I going to feel about this tomorrow?
- Do I have condoms or another form of protection from potential sexually transmitted infections?
- Have I talked to my partner about contraception methods?
- Am I letting alcohol, drugs, pressure or friends influence my decision to have sex?
Safer sex practices reduce your chances of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), but STI’s can still occur. STI’s are infections transmitted during any sexual contact (including oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse and/or touching). Common sexually transmitted infections include: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Human Papillomavirus (HPV; also known as genital warts), Hepatitis, Genital Herpes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Syphilis, and Trichomoniasis. Some of these STI’s can be treated and cured with antibiotics, others cannot be cured. If you are concerned about possible STI exposure, please seek medical attention.
You can reduce your risk by always protecting yourself in every sexual encounter. STI’s are spread via body fluids or by simple skin-to-skin contact. Regardless of your sexual or gender identity, exposure to STI’s may occur with any form of sexual intimacy (oral, vaginal, or anal). Your risk of exposure/transmission increases with the more sexual partners you have, but your chance of acquiring a STI increases anytime you have unprotected sex (regardless of your sexual partner history).
Avoid alcohol and other drugs with sex because they impair your judgment, affect your thinking/responsibility, and decrease your ability to communicate effectively with your partner. Alcohol actually causes decreased lubrication which means painful sex with an increased risk for tearing, which can greatly increase your risk for STI transmission.
Preventing STI's can also be accomplished by abstinence, reducing your number of partners, knowing your current STI status, vaccination (against HPV and Hepatitis), and correct, consistent condom use.
Oral birth control pills, Depo-provera, Nuvaring, IUD’s and Implanon do not protect against STI’s; they only decrease your pregnancy risk when used correctly. Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of contracting an STI.
**Free Lifestyle condoms are available in black bags at the front entrance of the clinic inside the first set of doors. The bags are in a brown wicker basket.**
Contraceptive (birth control) counseling is available at the clinic. Prescriptions for certain birth control methods may be written based on a patient’s individual needs and health status. We do not have a supply of birth control (oral contraceptives, vaginal rings, intrauterine devices) at the clinic. Please see www.acog.org for more information about birth control methods.
Symptoms of STI’s
Many people do not have any symptoms with STI’s. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends yearly STI screening for anyone who is sexually active, even when symptoms of an STI are not present.
Women may have:
- an unusual smell or vaginal discharge
- pain in lower abdomen
- pain during sex
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- burning or itching around vagina
Men may have:
- a penile discharge or drip
- burning with urination
Both women and men may have:
- bumps, blisters, or sores around genitals, rectum, or mouth
- flu-like symptoms
- burning and pain when you urinate or have a bowel movement
- swollen genitals
UNA Health Services currently tests and treats for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis through a collaborative agreement with the Alabama Department of Public Health. This service is free of charge. Students who need any additional testing for HIV and other STI’s may visit the walk-in clinic at the Lauderdale County Health Department (256.764.7453) or the Colbert County Health Department (256.383.1231). Please call for hours of operation.
Pregnancy urine tests are covered by the student health fee, but will only be performed after a missed period. This service is offered Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. - noon. If you desire a blood pregnancy test, there is a $20 charge. If you are pregnant, please see the following link for our pregnancy resource guide.
Please call to schedule an appointment for a Pap smear or well-woman visit. Information and current recommendations for Pap smears and well-woman visits can be found on our website under the 'Available Services' tab.
STATEMENT OF NONDISCRIMINATION
It is the policy of the University of North Alabama to afford equal opportunities in education and in employment to qualified persons regardless of age, color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion or sex, in accordance with all laws, including Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights Act of 1991, and Executive Order 11246. The coordinator for nondiscrimination policies for students is Irons Law Firm, 219 N Court Street, Florence, Alabama 35630. The coordinator for employees is the Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action, Room 222, Bibb Graves Hall or telephone 256.765.4291
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