• If you are a woman who is sexually active or over twenty-one years of age, obtain a Pap smear and pelvic exam at least every two years.
  • Abstinence from intercourse is the best protection against pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV infection.

If you choose to abstain

  • Choices about how, when, and where to express your sexuality are your own. Intimacy can include physical closeness, which may or may not include sexual intercourse.
  • The choice to have intimacy without intercourse is one that many men and women are making today for well-thought-out reasons.

If you choose to engage in intercourse

  • Communicate with your partner about your sexual concerns.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol use with decisions regarding sexual intimacy.
  • Use a latex condom or dental dam and spermicidal lubricant to protect against STIs, HIV, and pregnancy.
  • Use a condom and other forms of contraception properly.
  • Ask and give consent every time you engage in sexual activity. Consent to have sex is when both people agree to have sex. Consent should be mutual, voluntary, sober, and wanted.

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

People who have an STI may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Painful urination
  • Painful intercourse
  • Unusual genital discharge
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Genital sores
  • Unusual cramping
  • Genital itching

If you have any of these symptoms or have been exposed to a STI through a partner, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Some people have no symptoms; if you think you have a STI, come to Student Health for an examination and testing. Condom, dental dams, and lubricants are always free. To make an appointment at Student Health, call 319-335-8394.