According to Stanford University's Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, "An estimated one in four college students has a sexually transmitted disease." For this reason the UC Wellness Center seeks to promote responsible and safe sexual behavior so that UC students can maintain good sexual health.The most important thing to remember when it comes to sexual health is that the unwanted or negative effects of sexual behavior are for the most part preventable if sexual health is handled responsibly.
What is safer sex?
Safer sex is any practice used to reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or becoming pregnant.
Contraceptives are a method of safer sex that includes any activity, practice, device or medication that is used to reduce the risk of becoming pregnant. Some examples of contraceptives include:
- Birth control pills
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Depo Provera (the shot)
- Vaginal Ring
- Contraceptive Patch
Learn more about contraceptives here.
Barrier Methods- Wrap it up!
Barrier methods are a form of safer sex involving the use of an actual barrier to keep from coming into contact with another person’s genitals or sexual fluids. Barrier methods protect against both STIs and pregnancy and can be used in addition to another form of birth control. Barrier methods include:
- Dental Dams
- Gloves or Finger Cots
54% of UC students reported using a condom or other barrier method for vaginal sex within the last month. According to the Centers for Disease Control “correct and consistent use of latex male condoms can reduce the risk of STD transmission.” Therefore the use of condoms during each and every sex act including oral sex is suggested to protect yourself and your partner from contracting an STI. Herpes, Hepatitis B, gonorrhea and syphilis can all be easily transmitted through oral sex. Only 3.2% of UC students reported using a condom or barrier for oral sex within the last month.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections or diseases that are spread through sexual contact. STIs can be spread through oral, vaginal, anal and sometimes even digital sex (stimulation of the genitals with the hands or fingers). Many STIs have no signs or symptoms meaning many people may not be aware they have one and could continue to pass it on to other people. Many STIs are curable often with just one dose of medication. But if STIs go untreated for long periods of time they can have long-term negative health effects.
The 4 H’s- The 4 STIs that are not curable (meaning you have them for life) are:
Where to get STI testing?
Sex & Alcohol
- 1/3 of college women who get pregnant were drunk when they conceived.
- Almost 50% of unplanned sexual encounters occurred under the influence of alcohol.
- 60% of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were transmitted when one or more of the partners was drunk.
- Alcohol impairment often leads to: not knowing your partner; not having a condom available; not using a condom; or not using it correctly.
- Legally, consent for sexual behavior cannot be given while intoxicated.