Skip navigation

Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

Health & Counseling Center

Health Promotion

Sexual Health

According to the World Health Organization, sexual health is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.

Healthy sex can reduce stress, build connection, and be fun! Talking to your partner(s) about your expectations and boundaries, using birth control if you don't want to become pregnant, and getting tested for sexually transmitted infections can provide ease of mind and make sex more pleasurable and fun.

Annual Exams

Annual exams are recommended for people with a uterus after the age of 21. What happens during your doctor's visit can depend on your age, your sexual history, and your medical history. You might talk about your period, your plans for pregnancy, or get shots – like the HPV vaccine. Annual exams also include pelvic exams, Pap tests, and breast exams – all tests to make sure you're healthy.

Annual exams also give you an opportunity to connect with your doctor about questions or concerns you may have about your body or sexual health.

If you want to get your annual exam at the HCC, you can schedule an appointment via MyHealth or call 303-871-2205.

Birth Control

Birth control (contraceptive) methods give you the power to plan when and if you get pregnant. There are a variety of methods that work in a variety of ways so you can find the method that fits best in your life. You can also get most methods, including birth control pills and the intrauterine device (IUD), here on campus at the HCC!

To learn more about each method and to learn which one may be the best for you, check out the Method Explorer at Bedsider.org.

If you want to talk to a provider at the HCC about getting the birth control method that is right for you, you can schedule an appointment via MyHealth or call 303-871-2205.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception reduces the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sex. Emergency contraception must be taken within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected intercourse to avoid pregnancy, but the sooner it is taken, the more effective it will be. Emergency contraception will not harm an existing pregnancy.

If you want to get emergency contraception, you can make an appointment with a provider via MyHealth or call 303-871-2205.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can affect anybody from all walks of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "young people aged 15 – 24 years acquire half of all new STIs." Some STIs can cause discomfort and pain, whereas others may show no symptoms at all.

STIs are commonly transmitted through contact with bodily fluids and/or skin-to-skin contact. Some infections are bacterial and can be cured with antibiotics; whereas other infections are viral and can only be treated with medication to reduce symptoms.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of contracting an STI – providing some ease of mind and control over your sexual health.

The HCC provides STI testing and treatment. If you're interested in seeing a provider, you can schedule an appointment via MyHealth or contact 303-871-2205.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are common sexually transmitted infections that can infect anybody. For people with a uterus, it can cause long-term damage to the reproductive system – making it hard to get pregnant later on.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea can spread from vaginal, anal, or oral sex with somebody who has chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Most people who have chlamydia or gonorrhea have no symptoms. However, some symptoms may be:

  • An abnormal discharge from the penis, vagina, or rectum
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles
  • Rectal pain

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are treatable. Once tested, you can take medication to treat the infection.

The HCC provides STI testing and treatment. If you're interested in seeing a provider, you can schedule an appointment via MyHealth or contact 303-871-2205.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause serious health problems if it is not treated. Syphilis is spread by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can find sores on or around the penis, vagina, or anus, or in the rectum, on the lips, or in the mouth.

Early signs of syphilis are a sore or sores on or around the genitals. While the early stages of syphilis may be mild, later stages of syphilis (if left untreated) can cause skin rashes, fever, weight loss, and continue into other severe medical issues.

Syphilis is treatable if caught early. Once tested, you can take medication to treat the infection.

The HCC provides STI testing and treatment. If you're interested in seeing a provider, you can schedule an appointment via MyHealth or contact 303-871-2205.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Human immunodeficiency virus, commonly referred to as HIV, is the virus that can lead to auto immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS. HIV is transmitted through blood, vaginal fluids, semen, and breast milk. You can NOT get HIV from water fountains, saliva, or touching somebody.

HIV attacks the body's immune system, making it harder to fight off other infections. There is no cure for HIV, currently, however medications called Antiretroviral Therapy are used to treat and suppress the virus. By taking their medication regularly, most people can suppress the virus enough to reach an "undetectable" status – meaning their HIV is under control and difficult to transmit to others.

When used the right way every time you have sex, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Talking with your partner about getting tested and their HIV-status can also help you make informed decisions about what prevention methods may work best for you.

The only way to know for sure if you are living with HIV is to get tested. The HCC provides STI testing and treatment. If you're interested in seeing a provider, you can schedule an appointment via MyHealth or contact 303-871-2205.

PrEP and PEP

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a pill that, when taken daily, reduces the risk for HIV negative people to contract HIV. To learn more about PrEP, please visit www.whatisprep.org.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is an emergency medication that can be taken if you believe you may have been exposed to HIV. PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.

Both PrEP and PEP are available at the HCC. You can schedule an appointment to talk with a provider via MyHealth or call 303-871-2205.

If you need PEP and the HCC is not open, contact the STD Clinic at Denver Public Health at 303-602-6540 or an emergency room as soon as possible.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 15 related viruses. HPV is named for the warts that some HPV types can cause. HPV is transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus.

HPV is so common that nearly everybody will get it at some point in their lives. HPV most commonly goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and certain cancers.

Fortunately, there is a vaccine that protects against cancers caused by HPV infection. The HPV vaccine is recommended for people through the age of 26.

The HCC offers HPV vaccines and testing for STIs. You can schedule an appointment via MyHealth or call 303-871-2205.

If you're looking for off-campus resources for HPV Vaccine, check out:

Denver Public Health (303-602-3540) – provides HPV vaccines at no charge if you are under the age of 26
Children's Hospital (720-777-2248) – provides HPV vaccines at no charge if you are under the age of 26
Get Tested for STIs

Did you know that you can't always tell if you have a STI just by the way you look or feel? A lot of people with STI don't have any symptoms. The only way to know for sure if you have a sexually transmitted infection is to get yourself tested.

Knowing whether or not you and your partner(s) have a sexually transmitted infection allows you to make fully informed decisions about your sex life and allows you to protect your health and the health of your partner(s).

Depending on what you are getting tested for, testing usually involves drawing some blood, collecting a urine sample, and possibly having a genital, anal, or throat swab.

To get tested at the HCC, you can schedule an appointment via MyHealth or call 303-871-2205.

If you're looking for off-campus STI testing services, check out:

Barrier Methods

Condoms and dental dams are common ways that people reduce their risk of sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy. They both cover the skin to decrease skin-to-skin contact and prevent the exchange of body fluids – making it harder to transmit a sexually transmitted infection or get pregnant.

  • External condoms: External condoms slip over the penis to prevent pregnancy and lower the risk of STIs by keeping semen inside of the condom. Condoms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can find the brand and type that work for you. External condoms are commonly made of latex; however, latex-free condoms are available for folks with an allergy. Using water- or silicone-based lubricant with external condoms can make sex more pleasurable and fun!
  • Internal condoms: The internal condom is a pouch that is inserted into the vagina or anus to lower the risk of STIs and/or pregnancy by preventing the exchange of bodily fluids. Internal condoms, commonly referred to as the FC2 Female Condom, are available commonly with no out-of-pocket expenses by prescription, or available to purchase via the FC2 website.

Internal condoms are latex-free and using water- or silicone-based lubricants can make sex more pleasurable and fun!

  • Dental Dams: Dental dams are used as a barrier during oral-anal and/or oral-vaginal sex. Dental dams are commonly made of latex and come in different flavors and colors. Dental dams prevent STIs by limiting the amount of skin-to-skin contact and preventing the exchange of bodily fluids.
  • Lubricants: Lube can make sex more comfortable and more fun! Lube decreases friction and the likelihood of a condom breaking. There are a variety of types of lube:
    • Water-based lube is easy to use, easy to clean off your body and sheets, and is safe to use with condoms and sex toys.
    • Silicone-based lube is longer-lasting and can be used in water. Silicone-based lube is also safe to use with condoms. However, silicone-based lube is NOT safe to use with silicone sex toys.
    • Oil-based lubes are NOT safe to use with condoms because they make the latex more likely to break – which could increase the risk of pregnancy or STIs.

Check out this map to see where on campus you can find condoms and lube, as well as other health resources!

Free and Low-Cost Condoms and Lube

Check out this map to see where on campus you can find condoms and lube, as well as other health resources!

Pleasure Pack Delivery ServiceThe Health and Counseling Center is piloting a new program, the Pleasure Pack Delivery Service, to make it easier for DU students to get condoms. When used correctly every time during sex, condoms make it easier to have pleasurable sex with less worry about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.

Students are able to request one package of 10 condoms and lube per quarter.

  • Students who live in an on campus residence hall will have their package delivered to their campus mailbox in a discreet, unlabeled package.
  • Students who live off-campus or in an on-campus apartment can pick up their package from HCC-Asbury (1981 S University Blvd, corner of University and Asbury).

Orders will be delivered or available for pickup in approximately 5 business days.

Ready to get your Pleasure Pack? Order here.

Questions? Please e-mail hcc.thrive@du.edu.