St. George's Students' Union

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Sexual health

Everybody has different levels of experience and knowledge in all aspects of life, and sex is no exception. Some people come to university having never been exposed to any encounters of this sort; however, others may be the opposite. Whatever your background or experience, the most important thing to consider is to always be aware of your own welfare and never to feel pressured into doing something you do not want to do. The information in this section is intended to help inform you of the various effective ways of protecting yourself.

Remember students can access free condoms from the VP Education and Welfare in the SU office.

To get you started, here you can find your nearest sexual health clinic

For more friendly confidential information and advice, please visit www.brook.org.uk

Click on the tabs below for more details:

STI stands for sexually transmitted infection. It has been formerly known as STD (sexually transmitted disease) or VD (veneral disease). They all refer to the same thing. STI’s are the part of sex that is least talked about. Unless you know your partner’s entire sexual history, you cannot be sure that they do not have an STI and therefore should protect yourself (by using a condom).

Examples of different kinds of STIs include Syphilis, Genital Herpes, Hepatitis B, HIV, Urethritis, Trichomoniasis and HIV. Although there is a lot of hype about HIV and AIDS, the commonest STI is Chlamydia. In the Wandsworth area, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates are high and, unfortunately, on the increase.

A lot of the symptoms that people suffer from resulting from an STI are similar. You should be concerned if you notice any of the following:

  • Pain urinating

  • Vaginal or urethral discharge (usually a strange smell or colour)

  • Abnormal bleeding/ periods (girls only obviously)

  • Ulcers or warts in the genital area

  • Rash & itchiness in the genital area

  • Swollen groin glands

Having said this, up to 40% of people suffering from an STI may be asymptomatic (meaning that they do not suffer from any of the above). You must remember that it is not possible to tell just by looking at someone if they are free from an STI. It is also possible to have more than one STI at once.
 

Most STI’s are easily curable with antibiotics and creams, often with full recovery, which is made easier if they are detected early. It is therefore very important to be screened if you even have the slightest feeling you may be at risk. This can either be done at a family planning clinic, GUM clinic or by your GP.

STI tests are free and confidential. More information about what happens when you go for an STI test can be found here.

The SU regularly provides free sexual screening tests run by sexual health clinics, just keep your eyes peeled for dates on the website or via Facebook.

Alternatively visit your nearest sexual health clinic.

Free Condoms from your Students’ Union

In your Students’ Union you can pick up free condoms from the VP Education and Welfare.

Find out about different methods of contraception here or speak to your doctor.

Get it! Condom scheme

Get it! is a new condom scheme for young people who live, study, work or socialise in the borough of Wandsworth. If you are aged between 16 and 24, you can order free condom packs online that get sent straight to your door. You can register in the SU, just swing by the VP Education and Welfare’s office or register here online.

Emergency contraception

In the case where unprotected sex has taken place, emergency contraception is available. It is important to note that it can be taken up to 72 hours after sex, and consists of 1 or 2 (to be taken at the same time) pills. The sooner after sex they are taken, the more effective they are. They can be found at chemists (Boots on Tooting high street) but are also available free from family planning clinics (courtyard clinic at St. George’s Hospital), NHS walk-in clinics and your GP.

Sexual violence or unwanted pressure to have sex, whether in or outside of a relationship, is totally unacceptable. If you feel you are immediately at risk you should call 999 without hesitation.

Being a victim of any kind of crime can be frightening and upsetting. However, rape and sexual assault are particularly distressing crimes for the victim and the effects can last for a long time.

If someone has forced you into a sexual situation that you are uncomfortable with, there is help available. Call the Rape & Sexual Abuse support Centre London, on 0808 802 999 where specialised, confidential support, information and referral details are given completely free of charge.