Every sexual encounter comes with risks, whether it is your first time engaging in that activity or not, including the risks of pregnancy and STI’s. The best form of protection your first (and any) time having sex is a condom, which are 97-98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly and extremely effective at preventing the transmission of HIV. While condoms are very effective in preventing the transmission of both viral and bacterial STIs, some viruses such as HPV are capable of fitting through the microscopic pores in the latex, so its important to know the history of your partner. Your first time should be a healthy, fun experience: remember to be safe!
If you forget to use a condom, it is important to know what kinds of STIs are out there and to be tested for them. The most common STI on college campuses is chlamydia. College freshmen under the age of 20 are 70% more likely to contract chlamydia than their upperclassmen peers. A bacterial infection, chlamydia can be asymptomatic in up to 80% of women and 50% of men. When symptoms do occur, they include abnormal vaginal and penile discharge, burning when urinating and, in women, lower abdominal pain. It is important to get tested for chlamydia after unprotected sex, as it can permanently damage female reproductive organs, leading to infertility or pelvic inflammatory disease. Chlamydia testing is part of routine STI testing available at Dick’s House. STI testing is free at Dick’s House, so you don’t have to worry about your parents’ reactions! If you have unprotected sex, remember, the risks other than pregnancy and go get tested.