Sexual health matters

For a large number of London’s student population, higher education means a time of sexual experimentation and liberation. While studying in London you’ll meet countless other people with similar likes, opinions, hobbies and personalities to your own, and when you throw a bit of alcohol into the mix there is bound to be some physical chemistry.

Realistically, most people will encounter some of their first sexual experimentation whilst at university. If entered into sensibly and considerately by both people, there’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you look after your sexual health. An untreated STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) or an unplanned pregnancy is the sort of thing that could badly disrupt your university studies or worse, so here are just a few facts you need to know about your sexual health whilst at university and beyond...

STDs aren’t always obvious

You might have seen the gruesome images showing what certain sexually transmitted diseases can do to you, but not all STDs are so apparent. Certain sexual health problems, like early-stage chlamydia, might not have any symptoms so you are unlikely to notice that you’re suffering from an STD at all. The same is true of your sexual partners – they may not realise they have an STD and can run the risk of passing it to you through ignorance alone.

It’s important to use contraception whenever you have sex, but even condoms aren’t 100% safe. You need to visit your doctor for regular STD screenings if you’re engaging in any kind of sexual activity; find your nearest sexual health clinic online and make sure you’re registered with a doctor whilst at university here in London. Most universities will have a student health service, and you can also find surgeries near Scape East or Greenwich too in case of any immediate problems.

Contraception is your responsibility

Unfortunately, not everyone is as sensible as they should be when it comes to sexual health. If a dance floor introduction ends up in the bedroom, taking the time to put on a condom can seem like a bit of a mood killer, but it’s essential for your safety. Male or female, you need to take responsibility and ensure that you always use contraception – you can’t simply trust that your partner is free from infection or protected against pregnancy, especially if you’ve just met them. You need to make sure that you’re protected against the consequences of sex, and if you don’t have any contraception to hand, the only safe way to prevent against infection is to not have sex at all.

Healthcare professionals will not judge you

Far too many young people let STDs deteriorate because they’re simply too embarrassed to visit their doctor or sexual health clinic. Failing to seek treatment for a sexual health problem can be dangerous – if you leave some STDs for too long they can cause irreparable damage and even result in infertility in extreme cases. Healthcare professionals are discreet and helpful – they’re not there to judge you, but to give you treatment and advice that will help you to remain healthy in future. It’s important that you swallow your embarrassment and seek treatment if you think you may be suffering from a sexually transmitted disease of any kind.

Hopefully, our brief words of Scape student advice will help you to look after your body now and in the future. The NHS website has a huge amount of information on sexual health for those with more questions, and our Scape blog will be here throughout your stay to provide you with advice on all sorts of issues – from drugs and personal safety to sightseeing and nightlife.

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