Sexual Health


There are a wide range of available services offered at our health centers. Health services provide low-cost, confidential services to men and women who want to make an informed decision about family planning and reproductive health care. To find the clinic nearest to you, please visit the Clinic Locations page.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are infections that people can get by having sex with someone who is infected. There are many different kinds of STDs. Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), and Herpes are some of the most common.

Visit the CDC website for more information on specific STDs. Visit the It’s Your (Sex) Life website to learn more about STDs and testing.

How Can I Get Infected With STDs?
  • STDs can be transmitted by having any type of unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • Any direct contact with the following bodily fluids can transmit an STD: Blood, Vaginal Fluid, Semen, or Pre Seminal Fluid (pre cum)

 

Other Things To Remember
  • You can get an STD even if you have sex just once.
  • You can get the same STD more than once.
  • You can have more than one STD at a time.
  • The only sure way to protect yourself is not to have sex.
  • STDs can be passed without ejaculation.
  • STDs can be passed even with no actual penetration during sex.
  • STDs can be passed even when there are no signs or symptoms.
  • Some STDs can be passed to or from the mouth or throat during oral sex.
  • Some STDs can be passed through direct skin to skin contact.
What Can Happen If I Get an STD?
  • Syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia can be cured if treated right away. Others, like HIV, HPV
    or herpes, cannot be cured, but treatment is available.
  • If left untreated, some STDs can cause permanent damage to your reproductive organs, like infertility.
  • Since the most common symptom of STDs is having no symptoms at all, the only way to know for sure is to get tested.
How Can I Tell If My Partner Has an STD?

Most of the time, you can’t tell if someone has an STD by looking at them. A person can look healthy and still have an STD. A person can have an STD and not know it!

What Should I Watch Out For?

You should get tested if:

  • You are sexually active.
  • You had sex without a condom, or if condom broke.
  • You think your partner had sex with someone else.
  • You are having sex with multiple partners.

Get a check-up right away if you feel or see any of these signs:

  • Burning or pain while urinating.
  • Unusual discharge or smell from the vagina or penis.
  • Itching, burning, or pain around the vagina or penis.
How Do I Protect Myself From Getting an STD?
  • Abstinence: Abstinence from vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse is the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy.
  • Barrier Methods: Use a male or female condom every time you have sex. Latex or polyurethane (plastic) condoms are best. You can buy condoms in a drug store or come to one of our Health Centers and get FREE condoms! Birth Control methods, other than condoms, will not protect you from STDs. Use a condom (for men or women) along with your birth control method.
  • Monogamy (having only one sex partner).
  • Limiting number of sex partners.
  • Don’t mix sex with alcohol or other drugs.
  • Don’t have sex when it isn’t right for you. It’s your body and your choice whether or not to have sex. Decide ahead of time what is right for you.
If You Have an STD, Take Care of Yourself
  • Get treated. Finish taking all of your medicine. Don’t stop even if you feel better.
  • Ask your partner(s) to get checked. Although it can be hard to say something, they need to know so they can get tested. The nurse can give you a partner notification letter.
  • Don’t have sex until you and your partner are cured or your clinic tells you it is safe.
  • Use a condom every time you have sex.
  • Learn more about STDs. Talk to your doctor or clinic nurse.

Pap Smears

A Pap smear is a short, painless procedure that is used to detect cancerous or precancerous conditions of the cervix. The examiner gathers some cells from the cervix and then smears them on a slide. This slide is then sent to a laboratory where it is examined under the microscope to search for abnormal cells and any Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). It is an important tool in preventing cervical cancer and detecting any STDs.

cervical cancer screening
Who Should Get a Pap Smear?

The Pap test is recommended for all women between the ages of 21 and 65 years old, and can be done in a doctor’s office. To be sure when to get your Pap test, talk to a doctor or clinician.

Can Certain Sexually Transmitted Infections Lead to Cervical Cancer?

Yes. Certain types of HPV (human papillomarivus), the virus that causes genital warts, have been associated with a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. HPV is very common but most people don’t know they have it. It is passed during sex from the genital skin of one person to the genital skin of another. There are more than 100 different types of HPV. Some types cause genital warts that you can see. Some types cause cell change on the cervix that might lead to cervical cancer.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Cervical Cancer?

Postponing sexual intercourse until later in life, limiting the number of sexual partners, and using protection, such as condoms, against sexually transmitted diseases, may reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer. It is also very important to get a Pap smear regularly.

How to Prepare For Your Pap Smear
  • Make your appointment for a day you will not be having your period.
  • Do not have sex for 2 days before your Pap smear.
  • Do not use douches, vaginal creams, foams, gels or tampons for 2 days before your Pap smear.

 

What Does It Mean If I Get an Abnormal Pap Smear Result?

You will need more tests and treatment, or have more frequent follow-up Pap smears, depending on the result of the Pap smear. It is very important that you follow the recommendations of your doctor or clinician.

Breast Cancer Screening

Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has the following recommendations for breast cancer screening:

  • Women 50 to 74 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer get a mammogram every two years.
  • Women who are 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start and how often to get a mammogram.
  • Women should weigh the benefits and risks of screening tests when deciding whether to begin getting mammograms at age 40.
Types of Breast Cancer Screening Tests
  • Mammogram
  • Breast Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI)
  • Clinical Breast Exams
  • Breast Self-Awareness

To find out more information please visit the Centers for Disease Control – Breast Cancer Screening page.

Birth Control Methods

There are many types of birth control methods a female can use to prevent a pregnancy. Below you can see the effectiveness of each method. Visit the BEDSIDER website to find out which method is best for you!

Testicular Cancer

Cancer that starts in the testicles is called testicular cancer. Most cases of testicular cancer can be found at an early stage. In some cases, early testicular cancers cause symptoms that lead men to seek medical attention. Most of the time a lump on the testicle is the first sign. Unfortunately some testicular cancers may not cause symptoms until after reaching an advanced stage.

To learn more about testicular cancer visit American Cancer Society website.