Taking care of your sexual health is a very important part of your overall well-being.
Students’ Unions across the country run SHAG (Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance) campaigns to promote positive sexual health and well-being among students.
You can find a list of STI clinics here or drop into your SU to find out if your college does a free / cheap STI test.
👉 HIV Ireland has information on HIV, treatment, support, advice and campaigns
👉 MyOptions – information on unplanned pregnancies and all our options
Sex is not a black and white topic as everyone is different and sees it in a unique way. Everyone likes different things and it is important to be aware of types of sexual activity when being with someone. Sex is often singlisied with intercourse, but sex has a wide spectrum which includes outercourse. Outercourse is the activity in which penetration of the vagina by a penis or object used during sex ( vibrators, dildos etc )does not occur . Outercourse includes stimulation of the sexual organs by the hands, mouth or the body. It is important to know the different spectrums of sex when engaging in sexual activity with a partner, this can enhance your experience but also opens up lines of communication with your partner and expands knowledge of the use of contraceptives and the area of STIs.
It is perfectly ok not to have sex and to practice abstinence while attending Third level. But when the time comes It is important when engaging in sexual activity that consent it always given and that you and your partner are comfortable , regardless of gender or orientation.
Sexual health is an important issue to keep in mind if you are sexually active in Third Level. Remember, not everyone is sexually active and you shouldn’t feel pressurised into having sex. But if you are thinking of having sexual intercourse or outer course it is very important that you use protection by using contraceptives. Contraceptives are very important, they can help prevent pregnancy and the contraction of STIs. It is important to familiarise yourself with the many forms and what they do.
And there are loads of different kinds that can help you keep safe and protected during sexual activity with you and your partner, these include dental dams, female condoms, diaphragms, intra-uterine devices, implants, patches and vaginal rings. For more information go to www.thinkcontraception.ie or contact your Welfare Officer in the Students’ Union.
If you need someone to talk to, then the welfare officer is always available. If you don’t want to talk to the welfare officer s/he can put you in contact with people who can help in your college and outside the college walls.
www.positiveoptions.ie offers details of support services and information about crisis pregnancy.
Emergency contraception is a secondary form of contraception – it is used when other forms (e.g. a condom ) have failed or has not been used. It is effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. If you need Emergency contraception (i.e. the morning after pill) then it can be prescribed and dispensed to you by a GP, Pharmacsits or perhaps even through your student health. Visit www.thinkcontraception.ie for more information and FAQs about Emergency Contraception.
Termination of pregnancy
If it has been more than 72 hours after you have had unprotected vaginal sex, then the morning after pill is less likely to be effective. If you would like advice on options available to you, myoptions.ie can inform you with fact-based, unbiased information.
Freephone Helpline: 1800 828 010
Sexually transmitted Infections
STIs are now becoming more common for the general population especially young people. Students fall within the high risk category of contacting a from of an Infection and it is so important that you are aware of the dangers of unprotected sex and also being aware of types of Infections out there. To protect against STIs a condom must be used each and every time you have sexual intercourse. To be fully protected, dental dams and condoms should be used during oral sex. The only assurance of not getting a STI is abstinence and abstaining from sexual intercourse and outercourse. There are over 30 types of STIs and they can be broking down into 3 categories:
- Parasites: pubic lice (crabs) that live on you – these are passed on through skin to skin contact and sometimes through contact with infected bedclothes etc. These are very easy to treat , and medication usually comes in the form of a cream.
- Bacterial infections: these are caused by bacteria and include Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Syphilis. Problematic but curable – these can generally be looked after and dealt with. Medication usually comes in the form of anti-boditics and abstaining from sexual intercourse for 2-3 weeks.
- Viral: Hepatitis, HIV, Herpes – these all fall under the viral category. In general these can only be treated, not cured. And in HIV’s case, it can develop into AIDS . HPV (Genital warts) can lead to illnesses like cervical cancer also. Contracting a Viral Infection can be treated by taking regular medications and keeping up a strong immune system.
It is good practice to communicate and to look after ones sexual health, it should be regular and practice good sexual health always use contraceptives and get checked every 6 months. Please contact your nearest sexual Health Centre or G.U.M clinic to have a check up on your Sexual Health. For a full list check up http://spunout.ie/health/article/sti-gum-clinics-in-ireland
For more details on STIs, their symptoms and their treatment, check out: www.thinkcontraception.ie
It’s important to stay safe while being sexualy active. To make sure your sexualy healthy , you should take a STI test regularly . There is a lot of myths surrounding STI check ups, but you shouldn’t worry. Tests are literally painless and don’t take too long. If you are going for a test, make sure not to pass urine for 4 hours prior to allow for a proper test. An STI test is usually free ,so if you are having sex, get tested and be safe.
If you want more insight into a check up you should look up Spunout.ie video http://spunout.ie/health/article/what-to-expect-at-an-sti-clinic on what a regularly check up consists of.
For a full list of clinics look up http://spunout.ie/health/article/sti-gum-clinics-in-ireland
You can also look to http://www.sexualhealthcentre.com/ for further information.
Sexual Health Services
Sexual Health and Pregnancy
👉Irish Family Planning Association:
Phone: 1850 495051 (pregnancy helpline)
Phone: 1850 425262 (contraceptive info)
Phone: 1850 281 281
Provide counselling to women with crisis pregnancies.