Student Health and Wellness continues to offer the full range of health care options available in the state of Connecticut, including reproductive health services. SHaW serves as a resource for our students to ensure access to high quality healthcare services. For more information, including statements on the overturn of Roe v. Wade, please see, A statement from UConn President Dr. Radenka Maric and UConn Health CEO Dr. Bruce Liang, Governor Lamont Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade, and the American College Health Association (ACHA) Statement on the Overturn of Roe v. Wade.
HPV Vaccine and Clinics
Students of all genders can get vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) at Student Health and Wellness in the Hilda May Williams Building. Gardasil is the only vaccine that protects against cervical cancer and genital warts. Students can make an immunization appointment to begin or continue this three-shot series. Vaccination is covered by most insurance. Call 860-486-2719 to get protected!
What testing is available at SHaW?
Chlamydia can be diagnosed by a urine test or a urethral swab, whether or not symptoms are present. For either test it is important that you don’t empty your bladder for at least one hour (preferably two) before the test. These tests are generally accurate 1-2 weeks after exposure.
Gonorrhea can be diagnosed by urine test or urethral swab; it is usually tested for at the same time as Chlamydia.
If you have a sore or a blister in the genital area, a swab can be taken for herpes culture. If you don’t currently have any symptoms, a blood test can be done, but it may not be accurate for up to 4 months after exposure.
- Genital Warts
Genital warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and can only be diagnosed in men is if there are visible bumps or growths present in the genital, pubic, or anal area; there is currently no swab, blood or urine screening test available for men who are asymptomatic and may be infected with HPV. Treatment for genital warts is available by appointment.
is diagnosed by a blood test.
HIV testing is done via blood test at SHaW on a confidential (not anonymous) basis. Before scheduling an appointment, it is important that you read about our HIV counseling and testing policies. Be aware that it may take up to 6 months for either test to be positive following infection. The Rainbow Center and SHaW offers anonymous HIV testing. Please contact their offices for information about their testing procedures.
Paying For STD Testing at SHaW:
- Your specimen(s) are sent to an outside laboratory for processing. They will bill your insurance for these tests.
- It is always a good idea to call your insurance company (there should be a phone number on your card) to make sure they will cover these tests or any other services you receive. Most insurance companies will cover for STD testing if you are currently experiencing symptoms. Always bring your insurance card with you to your appointment!
State of Connecticut Dept of Public Health Testing:
- If you prefer, you may obtain testing services at a CT Dept of Public Health Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinic located at many sites around the state.
In partnership with USG, there is Plan B available without cost to undergraduate students. Or students can purchase a generic form of Plan B (the “morning-after pill”) over-the-counter at our Pharmacy. Students of any age or gender with a valid UConn ID can purchase Plan B without a prescription. Students can use cash, credit cards, Husky Bucks, or even charge the purchase to their fee bill. The cost is only $15.00!
- ella, another type of emergency contraception, is available by prescription and billed through insurance.
What is Plan B?
- Plan B Emergency Contraception is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after sex.
Consider using Plan B if:
- You didn’t use a contraceptive during sex
- You think your contraceptive didn’t work
How does Plan B work?
Plan B Emergency Contraceptive pills contain the same medication as regular birth control pills, and help to prevent pregnancy. Take Plan B as soon as possible. It is best to take Plan B within three days of unprotected sex. The sooner you take Plan B the more effective it is. For more information talk to your pharmacist or practitioner.
Who should NOT take Plan B?
- Plan B should not be taken if you are already pregnant or if you are allergic to any ingredient in Plan B.
- Do not use Plan B if you have unexplained vaginal bleeding.
Is it safe and will it work? What will it do?
- Plan B is safe and effective.
- Plan B reduces the risk of pregnancy by 89 percent.
- Plan B does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Plan B won’t cause an abortion.
- Plan B is NOT the same as RU-486 (the abortion pill).
- Plan B is not effective after pregnancy has occurred and cannot interrupt it.
- Plan B won’t harm a developing fetus.
- If Plan B is taken mistakenly during pregnancy, it will not harm the developing fetus.
- Using Plan B will not affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant in the future.
People can keep pills at home in case of an emergency. Many people find it convenient to have Plan B on hand in case of an emergency. Plan B is for emergency use and should not be used in place of regular contraception since it is not as effective as regular contraception. Store Plan B at controlled room temperature (68˚-77˚F). Excursions permitted between 59˚-86˚F. Be sure to have a medical follow-up after taking Plan B. If you don’t get a normal period within three weeks, take a pregnancy test. It is important to visit your doctor or clinic if you need a regular birth control method or information about preventing sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS.
PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis)
- PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a daily pill that can protect you from HIV if taken every day. PrEP is an option for those HIV-negative and concerned about their exposure to HIV
- Students interested in receiving PrEP can make an appointment with a Student Health and Wellness medical care provider. Advancing Access programs are available to make this treatment affordable.
- More information about PrEP.
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
Sexual Health Resources
Even Safer-Sex: How to Navigate Sex During a Pandemic
Sex is a normal part of life for many people – and some might find themselves wondering when they’ll be able to have sex again. The good news is that although we’re amid a public health emergency, you still can have sex. However, there are some extra questions to ask yourself and precautions you may want to take before engaging in sexual activity, with some special considerations if you’re living on campus or with roommates.
Understand How COVID-19 Spreads
- There’s still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19. The virus has been found in semen and feces of people with COVID-19, and there is some evidence that oral-anal sex (rimming) may spread the virus. Still, the transmission of fluids (semen, vaginal fluid) alone are not likely ways to spread COVID-19. However, many people engage in kissing and talking as part of sex, as well as heavy breathing – which CAN easily spread COVID-19, as it’s transmitted through respiratory droplets (or particles in saliva, mucus, or breath) of people who have COVID-19.
- Having prior positive COVID-19 test (from which you’ve recovered) does NOT necessarily mean you are immune from being re-infected. Additionally, a positive antibody test (which tests the body to see if it has been previously exposed to the virus), does not necessarily mean you are immune either – only that you’ve had the virus. Use caution when interpreting these tests to make decisions about if you are going to have sex, what kind of sex you have, and with whom you’re having sex.
Make An Educated Decision Based on Your Comfort & Risk Level
If you and your partner(s) are deciding whether you want to have sex, there are a couple of things to consider:
- Current Health & Medical Condition:
- You NEVER have to have sex if you’re not up to it and/or not feeling well. If you’re even feeling a little bit ill, skip kissing, sex, or any close contact.
- If you or your partner(s) have a medical condition that puts you at higher risk for a more severe case of COVID-19 (lung disease, heart disease, cancer, severe asthma, weakened immune system, etc.) – you may want to avoid sex as well.
- Living Arrangements
- The safest sex partner is someone you live with. If you do not life with your partner(s), consider your and their living arrangements, and discuss ways to keep others in the room/apartment/household safe (i.e. always wearing masks in the space, not sharing restrooms with those outside the household, avoiding the area when they’re around, etc.).
- Multiple Partners
- Having sex with only one or a small circle of people helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. Consider only having sex with one partner for the time being (who is also not having sex with anyone else) to limit close contact with numerous people. If you are having sex with several partners, talk to them all about keeping your circle “closed” i.e. only having sex with those within that group, sometimes known as “polyfidelity”.
- If you do choose to have sex with multiple partners outside of a close circle of contacts, take some extra precautions. Make sure your regular sex partners know you are engaging in sexual activity with others. Closely monitor yourself for symptoms, and consider getting tested for COVID-19 on a frequent basis, just as you would be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Avoid group sex if possible. Large gatherings of any type are not safe during COVID-19, but particularly those with close contact. If you do choose to engage in sexual activity where more than one other person will be present, limit your guest list, keep partners consistent, and utilize a larger, well-ventilated space when possible. Consider keeping a guest list as well, for contact tracing purposes.
- Avoid anonymous partners, if possible.
- Ways to Stay Close Without Physical Contact:
- You are your safest sex partner! Masturbation will not spread COVID-19. Be sure to wash your hands and any sex toys with soap and water thoroughly before and after masturbation.
- Mutual masturbation (masturbating together, but physically distanced), sexting, or sexy video chat sessions can be fun ways to reduce your risk
If you do decide to have sex, follow these tips to take extra care before, during, and after your experience:
- Try to avoid kissing anyone who is not a close contact.
- While kissing is a big part of many people’s sexual repertoire, it can also easily transmit COVID-19. Although it might not be something everyone is willing to forgo, people with multiple partners may want to avoid kissing those that are not close contacts (anyone that has been within 6 feet of you for over 15 minutes) if possible.
- Continue to practice safer-sex.
- Use safer-sex supplies, such as condoms, lubrication, & dental dams to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (order supplies for free here!)
- Additionally, oral-anal sex (rimming) may spread the virus. Consider using a dental dam or avoid this activity.
- Take extra care before and after sex – wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to wash any sex toys, too!
- Spice things up!
- Use this time to liven your sex life up, while staying safe! While wearing a mask might feel a little funny for some (or sexy, for others), it CAN reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, especially if you don’t know you have it. Heavy breathing or talking during sex can transmit respiratory particles, even if you’re not kissing. Wearing a mask can also give you the chance to heighten your other senses, and focus on other parts of the body.
- Be creative with sexual positions and barriers that can allow for sexual contact but limit face to face contact.
As always, all partners involved in any type of sexual activity need to agree to that activity. Sexual contact without consent isn’t sex – it’s sexual assault. For more about consent, please visit UConn’s TitleIX page on Sexual Assault and Consent as well as Planned Parenthood.
Information adapted from the NYC Health Department