Sexual Health | Towson University

With the information and resources listed here, you can feel prepared to make healthy
choices now and into the future.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

STIs are infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual activity.
They are very common, and many who have them don’t show any symptoms. STIs can have
serious health impacts, but the good news is that all STIs are treatable and many
are curable. 

Getting tested

Most of the time, STIs don’t have symptoms, so testing is the only way to know if
you have an STI. If you have had vaginal, anal, or oral sex, talk to your health care
provider about getting tested. At the Health Center, we offer testing, diagnosis and
treatment for a variety of STIs. Usually a simple urine test is all that is needed.
Make an appointment online at Tiger Health Portal or by calling 410-704-2466.

How to prevent an STI

STIs are infections, just like the cold or flu, and there are lots of different ways
to reduce your chances of getting an STI. The most effective way to prevent STIs is
through abstinence (not engaging in sexual activity). If you are sexually active,
there are lots of ways you can make sex safer. One of the best ways is to use a barrier
— like internal/external condoms and/or dental dams  every single time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Free condoms, dental dams,
and lubricant can be obtained at the Health Center.

For additional resources on STIs, check out:

Request a Workshop

Risky Business

Not all sex is created equal. The risk of passing on or getting sexually transmitted
infections (STIs) or becoming pregnant varies largely depending on the type of sex
you have. Through a group game, you will learn about the risks associated with different
types of sexual activities, STI prevention, birth control, and how to make safer decisions
about sex. Free safer sex supplies are also provided.

Request this workshop for your hall, club, group, or class.

STI Breakdown

This workshop will take a look at the most common STIs, breaking down how they are
transmitted and diagnosed, what some symptoms could be, how they are treated or cured,
but most importantly you will learn how someone who is sexually active can keep themselves
healthy- by treating an STI, or by preventing it altogether.

Request this workshop for your hall, club, group, or class. Also, check out our events calendar for the dates and times of recurring workshops.

Birth Control

Depending on what type of sex you are having and with whom, pregnancy may also be
a concern. Using birth control can decrease the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy,
as well as help the user manage their periods and their PMS symptoms. There are many
birth control options to choose from and each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
The “best” method will vary by person and situation.

How to get birth control

At the Health Center, we provide prescriptions for birth control pills, Nuva Ring, the patch, and Depo-Provera shots. We also offer emergency contraception (Plan B for $11 and Ella for $39) as well as condoms and other safer sex supplies
for free. Call 410-704-2466 or go online to make an appointment for birth control or emergency contraception. 

Birth control resources

If you are still doing your research about birth control, consider attending one of
the Health Center’s Birth Control Workshops. You can check out our events calendar for upcoming birth control workshop dates. Our Health Center staff are also happy
to answer your questions about contraceptives. You can email healthed AT_TOWSON to speak with a Health Educator, or schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians to discuss your options. 

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For additional resources on birth control, check out:

Request a Workshop

Birth Control 101

Did you know there are 20 different methods of birth control? With so many effective
birth control options readily available, how do you know where to start? Through this
workshop, you will learn about the most commonly used birth control methods — how
they work, how to use them, and how to pick one. Whether you have questions for yourself,
a partner, or a friend, this workshop is bound to answer them all.

Request this workshop for your hall, club, group, or class. Also, check out our events calendar for the dates and times of recurring workshops.

Breast Health 

Breast health begins with an understanding of what is normal for your breasts. To
become familiar with your breasts, look at the shape, color and size of your breasts
and nipples with your arms both down and raised. Use the pads of your fingers to press
firmly around your collarbone, breasts, and underarm area. Knowing how your breasts
vary in sensitivity and texture at different times in your menstrual cycle will help
you know when something is off. If you notice abnormal changes in one or both of your
breasts, consult with a healthcare provider.

Vaginal and Vulvar Health

Good sexual health also means taking care of your body. The good news is, most of
the time vaginas and vulvas take care of themselves. The important thing is knowing
what is normal for you and what may be a sign that there’s something wrong.

Discharge

Vaginas produce a certain amount of fluids daily, so discharge is normal. These normal
secretions allow the vagina to clean itself, and stay lubricated and free from infections
and germs. Normal discharge does not have an strong or foul odor, and is usually clear
or milky in appearance. The amount of discharge varies from person to person, and
can change throughout the month. 

Vaginal infections can occur with changes in body pH. Discharge that is different
in color, consistency, or odor may be a sign of an infection. If you notice these changes to your typical discharge,
schedule a visit with the Health Center to check for an infection and get treatment.

Signs of a vaginal or vulvar infection

If your discharge changes color, consistency, or odor that may be an indication that you have an infection. Don’t worry, most of the time that just
means taking medication to treat the infection. Other reasons to schedule a visit
at the Health Center include:

  • itching, discomfort, or a rash on the skin of the vulva or vagina
  • vaginal burning during urination
  • the presence of blood when you are not on your period
  • pain and/or bleeding during vaginal intercourse

Penile and Testicular Health

Maintaining the health of your penis and testicles is an important aspect of keeping
yourself healthy. While every body is different, there are a few indicators that someone
may be experiencing penile or testicular health concerns.

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Signs of a Testicular or Penile Health Issue

A testicular self-exam is a simple and effective way to recognize the early signs
and symptoms of testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is one of the most frequently
occurring types of cancer in people with testes between the ages of 18 and 35. If
caught early, testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer. If you
notice changes in your testes, consult with a healthcare provider.  

  • Discharge: unlike vaginas, discharge from a penis is not the norm and can mean infection
  • Itching, burning sensation during urination
  • Painful erection
  • Changes in the ways your testes and/or penis look or feel, like newly developed lumps
    of tenderness

Talking to Your Partners

One of the most important parts of sexual health is communication. It is important
to talk to your partners before engaging in sexual activity. Everyone involved needs to be on the same page, and enthusiastic,
about what will take place. Even if you are in a relationship or have engaged in sexual
activity with this partner before, this check-in needs to happen every time. Even
after having this conversation, you can always change your mind about what you do
and do not want to do. It’s important to also check in with your partners during sex,
and respect their decision if they change their mind about what they want. If someone
is incapacitated from drugs or alcohol, asleep, or otherwise mentally impaired they
are not able to consent to sexual activity. 

Here are some resources to learn more about consent and sexual communication:

In addition to seeing if your partners want to engage in sexual activity, talk with
them about the last time they were tested for an STI and what safer sex methods work
for both of you to prevent STI transmission. If you are engaging in sex that could
result in pregnancy, talk to your partners about birth control options for pregnancy
prevention. 

Request a Worksop

In the Zone

Sexual health goes far beyond STI and pregnancy prevention- an essential piece of
sexual intimacy is exploring pleasure with oneself and/or partner(s). In this interactive
workshop you will learn how to set boundaries, communicate needs and desires with
partners, and how to explore erogenous zones to get the most out of your sexual encounters!

Request this workshop for your hall, club, group, or class. Also, check out our events calendar for the dates and times of recurring workshops

Sexual Health Frequently Asked Questions