Sexual Health Information

The Wellness Center and it’s Peer Educators are here to help you learn about sexual health so that you can make informed decisions for your health and well-being. Whether you need information on contraceptives, pregnancy, or remaining abstinent, we’re here to answer questions as a non-judgemental resource. Not interested in talking to a Peer Educator? Check out the Links at the bottom of the page.

Contraception
What we offer in the office:

  • Assortment of Condoms- extra large, lubricated, latex free
  • Water-based lubricant
  • Female condoms
  • Dental Dams

Forms of Contraception (Not offered in the office)
Talk to a healthcare provider about these options before you determine which method is the best for you. Contraceptive consultations are available at Health Services. Click the link to the left for more information about Health Services.

  • Emergency Contraception- (also known as the morning after pill) is available in the Health Services(HS) office.  Both males and females can pick it up without an exam, though the Nurse Practitioner does like to have a conversation when you stop in.  You can use Emergency Contraception within 120 hours of unprotected sex, but it is recommended to take it as soon after intercourse as possible.
  • Birth Control Pills – Prescriptions are available from Health Services.Many side effects can occur with the use of birth control including weight gain, blood clots, changes in acne and/or mood.  There are many different birth control pill brands.  In general, there are two types:
  • Combination pill- Small doses of estrogen and progestin.  Within, there are more small groupings depending on the amount of estrogen or progestin.  Common names: Othro Tri Cyclen, Yasmin, Alesse, Nordette.  This is the most common form. (Does not prevent STIs or HIV/AIDS)
  • Progestin-Only Pill – Usually only taken to decrease estrogen side effects.  Can cause irregular menstruation in the beginning, usually decreasing the number of periods in the first year.  (Does not prevent STIs or HIV/AIDS)
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD)- A small device that a doctor inserts into the uterus, through the cervix.  Some IUDs are effective for up to twelve years.  IUDs are either made of copper ions or release the hormone progestin.  Copper ions prevent fertilization by immobilizing sperm.  Hormonal IUDs  impair sperm mobility and thicken the cervical mucus to keep sperm from the uterus.  Both change the uterine lining to prevent fertilization.  All IUDs have a string (or more than one) that hang through the opening of the cervix into the vaginal canal. IUDs are 99% effective.  (Does not prevent STIs or HIV/AIDS) Recommended for women who are mutually monogamous.
  • Diaphragm- A barrier method of birth control that is inserted into the vagina before intercourse and is left in for at least 6 hours after sex.  Exams are needed to get a diaphragm because a doctor must provide one that is the proper size for your body.  To be used with spermicide.
  • Cervical Cap- Smaller than a diaphragm, needs to be left in place for 6 hours after intercourse.  It is designed to create an almost air-tight seal around the cervical opening.  It can be left in for 48 hours. It also needs to be fitted by a doctor but comes in limited sizes so they do not work for everyone.
  • Nuva Ring- A clear, plastic ring (larger than a rubberband) that is placed in a woman’s vagina for three weeks at a time.  It provides a continuous low dose of progestin and estrogen hormones which are absorbed through the vaginal wall.  This supresses ovulation and thickens cervical mucus which prevents fertilization.  You must visit a healthcare provider to be prescribed.
  • Ortho Evra Patch- A small patch worn on the skin for a week at a time that contains high levels of estrogen thus suppressing ovulation.  You must visit a healthcare provider to be prescribed.
  • Depo-Provera- Highly effective and low-maintenance. Healthcare provider will administer a shot every three months.  When shots are given on time, this form is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Sexually Transmitted Infections
Testing- Sexually Transmitted Infections are either caused by bacteria or a virus.  Screening for STIs is simple and generally involves collecting a sample of fluid from the infected area.  Some viral STIs are screened by blood drawing.  Still others, like genital warts and herpes can be identified visually from the legion itself.  Sometimes doctors will scrape the area with a cotton swab or take a small biopsy of the infected area.   It usually takes a couple days to get the results back.  Typically, healthcare providers do not do general screens for STIs so you need to ask if you have a concern.
Most Common STIs:

  • Chlamydia (bacterial) Test available in Health Services for a fee
  • Gonorrhea (bacterial) Test available in Health Services for a fee
  • Syphilis (bacterial)
  • Trichomoniasis (bacterial)
  • Human Immuno-deficiency Syndrome (HIV) (Viral)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Viral) Rapid HIV Testing available in Health Services for a fee
  • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)(Viral) Both versions below can occur in genitals and/or oral area
  • HSV-1- generally causes oral herpes, including cold sores and fever blisters
  • HSV-2- generally causes genital herpes.
  • Hepatitis B (Viral)

Pregnancy

Students seeking support for pregnancy are welcome to come talk to a Peer Educator in the office or visit one of our other services on campus: the Student Wellness Coordinator, the Dean of Students Office, Health Services, the Counseling Center, or Pastor’s Office. Each of these offices can provide support and guidance as needed. Pregnancy tests available in Health Services for $5.

Sexual Health and Pregnancy Links

Planned Parenthood www.plannedparenthood.org

Crisis Pregnancy Center of Northfield www.cpcnorthfield.org

Andrew Guttmacher Institute www.guttmacher.org

Go Ask Alice! Columbia University’s Q&A helpline for questions about general health, sexual health, nutrition, and more. www.goaskalice.columbia.edu

American Social Health Association www.ashastd.org

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US www.siecus.org

Center for Disease Control National Prevention Information Network www.cdcnpin.org

Smarter Sex! STDs, relationships, birthcontrol, abstinence, date rape, etc. www.smartersex.org

National Gay and Lesbian Hotline www.glnh.org