Sexual health advice for studentsBy TheStudentGuide
Stay safe at uni!
According to the Health Protection Agency, new diagnoses of STDs at GUM clinics rose by 60% between 1996 and 2005. That’s a massive increase, and 7 years down the line things haven’t improved much.
As well as the unpleasant symptoms, STDs also have consequences. Even those without obvious symptoms may cause infertility and other long-term health damage. More than a third of the 400,000 new cases of STDs reported in the UK in 2008 were in young people aged 16 to 24. So how can you guys protect yourselves?
Heterosexual, same sex – we all face the same dangers and by simply performing a routine Google search, it’s apparent that there’s a lot of crap advice out there. Foolhardy preventatives of STDs (in my book at least) do not include not having sex or masturbating because let’s face it, sometimes we just wanna go at it like rampant little Huskies.
The thing to remember is to be sensible and always follow this list of helpful hints and tips. Learn it but be assured that there won’t be a classroom-style test!
Always rubber up
Condoms are the most effective way to protect yourself against unwanted infections. Many STDs are transferred through fluids so by ensuring that none of these nasties get anywhere near your private parts, you’re doing good. And the more protection you use the better – condoms, femidoms, slap ‘em on, in and around because they’re an easy (and free!) way to combat STDs. Find out exactly how to use condoms to best effect, here.
Know who you’re sleeping with!
We all know that the most fulfilling time to have sex is with a long term lover whom you know the ins and outs of. So to speak. In that situation, though condoms are always advised, there is more scope to deviate. On occasion however, there may be times when you don’t know the back catalogue of your partner’s sexual encounters. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing it (which you kind of should if you’re sleeping with them, but that aside) then make sure to use protection.
Regular tests may not reduce the chance of catching an STD, but they sure as hell reduce the risk of them turning into something more serious. By getting checked out regularly, any STDs you do contract can be picked up and treated early on and prevented from developing into something bigger – the likes of which can include impotence and infertility. Getting tested is super easy and with more and more people doing it, it's less embarrassing than it’s ever been. In fact, it's becoming the norm. Simply book an appointment with your GP, head to the local GUM clinic or look out for stalls at the various fresher’s events and sites around campus.
When you go to a sexual health clinic, you'll be asked for your name and some contact details. You don’t have to give your real name if you don’t want to but if you do, know that it will be kept confidential. To find your nearest GUM clinic, click here.
If you think that you may have symptoms of an STD, check here and find out what to do.