How to avoid an STI this freshers’

SHAG are your first port of call for all things sexual health

The simple steps to help care for your sexual health

by Katie Lewis

For a lot of freshers, this first week is jam-packed with fresher’s events, house parties and nights out. During these situations you’ll meet lots of new people, and with some you may well go on to have sexual relations with. Don’t worry, I’m not going to lecture you as I’m sure you are a responsible bunch of people. However, your sexual health is very important and with a few tips you can hopefully avoid any mishaps.

If you have queries about sexual health, or just fancy a bit of a recap on information, Cardiff University have a Sexual Health Awareness Group, aptly named SHAG. SHAG are run by student volunteers and deliver helpful information on sexual health. They have placed two dispensers providing free condoms, one in the SU reception and one in the Heath IV lounge. They also run a C-card drop in session on Wednesdays 1pm- 3pm in room 3D in the SU, where you can get free condoms of assorted types and sizes. As you may know, condoms are around 98% effective, and now you know that they’re free, you’d be silly not to grab some.

Most of you will have signed up with a local GP surgery if you moved into halls this year, and this is important because they can help if you are uncertain about whether or not you have an STI. If you do spot any symptoms, or feel worried after having sex without a condom, act quickly and pay a visit to the sexual health clinic or your GP to seek treatment.

During the blur of fresher’s week, you may feel in the spirit of trying new things, but unsafe sex shouldn’t be one of them. Make sure that you don’t do anything that you think might be unsafe or risk your sexual health. Don’t be afraid to question your sexual partners, especially if it’s casual sex and there are possibly other people in the picture. You have look out for your welfare, so have a conversation with them about staying safe and not spreading infection.

A really crucial piece of advice is to pop into a sexual health clinic prior to any sexual activity and to get tested. Even if you think you’re probably clear, it’s best to double check first as you could unknowingly have an STI and infect a sexual partner. The NHS recommends that people don’t have sex, including oral sex, until they have been given the all clear from a health professional. Many STI’s have no symptoms at all, and the infection can stay undetected.

You want to end freshers’ with a bang, but not an STI, so stay safe.

Have fun but take care of yourself this Freshers.

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