Sexual Health Resources

free condoms and lube in the HPWS office

Being A Sexually-Well Person

  • Makes responsible sexual choices that are consistent with their values and beliefs.
  • Refrains from using sex to manipulate, coerce, exploit, or influence others.
  • Minimizes unwanted consequences through communication, protection, and risk reduction measures.
  • Understands their sexuality and the sexuality of others.
  • Respects that each person expresses their sexuality differently
  • Accepts the diversity of values and beliefs about sexuality that exist.
  • Understands that all sexual decisions have effects or consequences.
  • Realizes that abstaining from sexual activity is the most effective method of preventing the unintended consequences of sex.

New This Semester: HIV Testing

Health Promotion and Wellness Services in partnership with Unity Wellness provides free HIV testing.
Where: Health Promotion and Wellness Services, Student Center Suite 1206.
When: Wednesdays from 1 PM to 3 PM.

 

*All tests are conducted by Unity Wellness Center. All testing is confidential, safe and private but not anonymous. Get tested and know your status in as little as 1 minute and receive free HIV information in the process!
Why Should I Consider Getting Tested?
To know your HIV status is important for your health, your relationships, your life and your future. The growth of new infections continues to pose serious health risks.
In 2016, an estimated 38,700 Americans became newly infected with HIV. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men bear the greatest burden by risk group, representing an estimated 26,000 of new HIV infections per year. 
In 2017, youth aged 13 to 24 made up 21% (8,164) of new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas. Youth with HIV are the least likely of any age group to be linked to care in a timely manner and have a suppressed viral load.
Testing is the gateway to treatment and effective treatment is a great HIV prevention tool—it saves lives and prevents HIV transmission.

Project Protect

The choice to be sexually active or to abstain from sexual activity is personal and should be based on the values and beliefs of the individual. The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness Services focuses on providing students with accurate information about the results of their sexual behavior and is an open, honest, and non-judgmental environment for students to learn about sexual wellness.
Please contact HPWS@auburn.edu to have questions about sex answered anonymously.
Condoms and lubricant products are available for students in the HPWS office.

Questions?

Do you have a questions?

Ask a sexual health educator and your question could be featured as the question of the week. Email your questions to HWPS@auburn.edu. Questions will be answered on a first come, first serve basis.

NOTE: This service should not replace the advice of a medical professional.

Questions for You and Your Partner

Before having sex with someone, ask yourself the following questions to be sure you’re making the right choices for you:

  1. Am I following my personal beliefs and values?
  2. Do we both want the same thing (casual sex, relationship, etc.)?
  3. How will I feel about this tomorrow?
  4. Am I letting alcohol, drug use, self-esteem, or peer pressure affect my decision?
  5. Have my partner and I talked about possible consequences, such as STIs and pregnancy?
  6. Do I know how to use condoms or other STI protection?
  7. Is this consensual sex?

Safer Sex

Safer sex means protecting yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and unplanned pregnancy. Safer sex can also mean deciding to abstain from sexual intercourse or finding other forms of sexual expression that do not involve the exchange of bodily fluids.

In Spring of 2013, we surveyed students on their sexual health behaviors (as well as a whole host of other health behaviors). Here is what we found:

  • 35% of Auburn students haven’t been sexually active
  • 79% of students had two or less partners during the last year

Of those that are sexually active:

  • 33% had only had one partner during the last year
  • 43% had oral sex within the last 30 days
  • 43% had vaginal intercourse in the last 30 days and
  • 4% has had anal sex in the past 30 days

NOTE: There is a large discrepancy between how much sex people think everyone else is having and the numbers actually reported by students.

Contraception and STI protection usage:

  • Of those who had oral sex in the last 30 days,  94% never used a condom
  • Of those who had vaginal intercourse in the last 30 days, 50% mostly or always used a condom
  • Of those who had anal sex in the last 30 days, 77% never used a condom
  • Of those who have had vaginal intercourse, 71% used some method of birth control
    • 10% were unsure
  • 77% reported using birth control pills the last time they had vaginal intercourse
  • 65% reported using male condoms the last time they had vaginal intercourse
  • 16% reported using emergency contraception in the last 12 months
  • In the last 12 months, 0.8% reported a pregnancy of themselves or a partner, while another 1% were unsure

Lower Your Risk of STI’s and Unwanted Pregnancy

If you choose to engage in sexual activity, there are plenty of ways to reduce your risks for unintended consequences such as STIs, unintended pregnancy, and emotional distress.

Communicate With Each Sexual Partner

Communication is the best sexual technique – the best way for both parties to get what they want from the sexual relationship

  • Disclose sexual history
  • Discuss the type of protection you will use
  • Talk about what you like and dislike
  • Establish boundaries and expectations
You should get tested for STIs if any of the listed risk factors apply to you:
  • You have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex;
  • A condom breaks;
  • Your partner has or has had an STI;
  • You or your partner inject street drugs;
  • You have a new sex partner;
  • You have had more than one partner in the past six months;
  • Your partner has or had sex with another person;
  • You have sex under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol; or
  • You are unable to communicate with your partner about your sexual history and ways to reduce risks.

Learn Some Common STI Symptoms:

Genital HPV Infection: http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
Trichomoniasis: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Trichomonas/STDFact-Trichomoniasis.htm
Chlamydia: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Chlamydia/STDFact-Chlamydia.htm
Genital Herpes: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Herpes/STDFact-Herpes.htm
Gonorrhea: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Gonorrhea/STDFact-gonorrhea.htm
Hepatitis B: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/b/fact.htm
Syphilis: http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/STDFact-Syphilis.htm
HIV/AIDS: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/index.htm

NOTE:  Remember that some STIs, such as chlyamidia, are often asymptomatic

What is Abstinence

Abstinence can mean different things to different people at different times.
It can mean:
  • No sexual touching at all.
  • Some sexual touching but no oral, vaginal or anal sex.
  • Any kind of physical contact except vaginal sex.

IF YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP…

Make sure you and your partner have the same definition of abstinence.

For example, if one partner thinks abstinence means sexual touching is ok, but oral sex is not, while the other partner believes one can be abstinent and still have oral sex, serious miscommunication is likely to occur. Be clear, know and voice your limits. This will help reduce the chance of a misunderstanding. It will also make it easier to avoid situations that make it difficult to stick to your initial decision.

You might feel that having sex is the only way to get or keep a partner. Or possibly your partner may put pressure on you or keep asking you to have sex.

  • Being abstinent works better if you decide on it together.
  • Talk about your reasons for waiting before you get into sexual situations with your partner.
  • Be clear about your limits and which sexual behaviors, if any, you are comfortable with.
  • Do things together. Share interests, activities, and projects that will help create a stronger relationship not based on sexual intimacy.
  • Discuss any obstacles to abstinence, and plan ways together to overcome them.

You have choices.

Postponing sexual activity does not mean sacrificing passion and intimacy from your relationships. It simply means you are willing to explore the options you have in relating to your partner. It also means taking the time for you and your partner to measure carefully your mutual investment in an ongoing intimate relationship.

Remember: Just because you have had sex in previous relationships, or even a current one, doesn’t mean you are obligated now.

Being comfortable with your physical and emotional expression in the presence of another and being comfortable with your partner’s self-expression, takes trust and confidence on your part. This trust takes time, effort and a thoughtful consideration of what the relationship is all about before involving sexual activity. Being sexually active is too important and personal a decision to let someone else, alcohol or drugs, loneliness or depression, peer pressure, previous sexual behavior, an ultimatum, or fear of rejection decide for you.  If you are experiencing any kind of fear or apprehension about sexual activity, plan ahead: don’t let sex just “happen.”

Why Wait?

Some reasons for waiting to have sex might include:

  • You want to wait until you’re married or in a serious, committed relationship.
  • You want a strong relationship based on friendship and trust — without the confusion sex can add.
  • Refraining from oral, anal and vaginal sex is the only 100% sure way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS.
  • You want to experience other areas of your life before you have a sexual relationship.
  • You’re too busy with your job, school, or sports to handle a sexual relationship.
  • You can earn respect from others and from yourself for sticking with the decision that’s right for you.

Having control over when you become pregnant is another reason to consider other sexual options. Sex without intercourse is the only absolute method of contraception. Although condoms, IUDs, diaphragms, foam, and the pill all provide various levels of prevention against unintended pregnancy, most are not foolproof. For those seeking intimacy without the potential issue of unintended pregnancy, postponing vaginal sex is a sound choice.

Contraception Types

Birth control methods are good at preventing pregnancy when used consistently and correctly, so make sure your method of choice is being used correctly.  Check out the difference between Perfect Use and Typical Use:

Abstinence   

  • Perfect use: 100%
  • Typical Use: 100%
  • Pregnancies: 0
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: Oral and anal sex have risks.
  • Concerns: Only works if both partners are in agreement
  • Cost: Free

Depo-Provera          

  • Perfect use: 99%
  • Typical Use: 97%
  • Pregnancies: 3
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: Some women report weight gain and irregular periods
  • Cost: $35 per shot prescription and office visits every 3 months

IUD    

  • Perfect use: 99%
  • Typical Use: 99%
  • Pregnancies: 1
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: Doctors won’t provide if you have not already had a child, as the IUD might pierce the uterus wall
  • Cost: Contact medical professional

Birth Control Pills

  • Perfect use: 99%
  • Typical Use: 92%
  • Pregnancies: 8
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: If you miss 2+ pills during a cycle, you should use a back-up method
  • Cost: $15-$40 through a prescription

Intravaginal Ring (Nuva Ring)

  • Perfect use: 99%
  • Typical Use: 92%
  • Pregnancies: 8
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: If you miss 3+ hours during a cycle, you should use a back-up method
  • Cost: $25-35 prescription and office visits

Emergency Contraception Pills

  • Perfect use: 75-89%
  • Typical Use: 75-89%
  • Pregnancies: 11-25
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: Can cause headaches, breast tenderness, upset stomach, or vomiting
  • Cost: $10-70

Male Condom

  • Perfect use: 98%
  • Typical Use: 85%
  • Pregnancies: 15
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: Good against fluid STIs, fair against others
  • Concerns: Can break, fall off (if no put on correctly), or leak during withdrawal
  • Cost: 35c to $2 each at drugstores

Coitus Interruptus (Withdrawal)

  • Perfect use: 96%
  • Typical Use: 71%
  • Pregnancies: 29
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: Sperm can also live in pre-ejaculate, so pregnancy can still occur
  • Cost: Free

Diaphragm

  • Perfect use: 94%
  • Typical Use: 84%
  • Pregnancies: 16
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: Can increase the risk of UTIs and TSS; must remain for 6 hours after intercourse and then washed away
  • Cost: $30-40 prescription and cost of spermicide, fitting, and diaphragm

Natural Family Planning (Rhythm)

  • Perfect use: 91%
  • Typical Use: 75%
  • Pregnancies: 25
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: Sperm can live inside the body for several days, event past the “safe” days chosen for intercourse. Also, predicting when a woman is ovulating is difficult and takes training
  • Cost: Health care clinics offer training classes

Spermicide   

  • Perfect use: 82%
  • Typical Use: 71%
  • Pregnancies: 29
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: Some can irritate vaginal walls, which increases STD risk and must follow directions carefully and use more each time you have intercourse
  • Cost: $9-12 and $4-8 for refills

No Method (Chance or “Luck”)

  • Perfect use: 15%
  • Typical Use: 15%
  • Pregnancies: 85
  • Risk Reduction for STIs: None
  • Concerns: Leaves it completely up to chance, risk of pregnancies and STIs
  • Cost: Free, if you don’t count the hospital fees and paying for a child for 18 years

*Number of pregnancies in 100 typical users over one year’s use

Information adapted from: http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/preventing-pregnancy/what-works-what-doesnt/

What are you comfortable with? What are you uncomfortable with? These questions are important for all relationships, including those which are sexual.  The Sexual Bill of Rights is a list of rights everyone is entitled to in a relationship, centered around yourself and your partner. Knowing your rights will help you make important decisions concerning your relationship, including defining and maintaining sexual boundaries.

BILL OF RIGHTS

I have the right…

  • To always be treated with respect. In a respectful relationship, you should be treated as an equal.
  • To not be hurt physically or emotionally. You should feel safe in your relationships at all times.
  • To be in a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is not controlling, manipulative, or jealous. A healthy relationship involves honesty, trust, and communications.
  • To not be hurt physically or emotionally. You should feel safe in your relationship at all times.
  • To refuse sex or affection at anytime. A healthy relationship involves making consensual sexual decisions.
  • To not have sex. Even if you have had sex before, you have the right to refuse sex for any reason.
  • To have friends and activities apart from my boyfriend or girlfriend. Spending time by yourself, with male or female friends, or with family is normal and healthy.
  • To end a relationship. You should not be harassed, threatened, or made to feel guilty for ending an unhealthy or healthy relationship. You have the right to end a relationship for any reason you choose.

Testicular cancer

  • Testicular cancer is an issue often overlooked by young males. However, it can be a life threatening experience. Through regular testicular examinations, you can often detect a problem before it becomes too serious. If you feel small lumps on the testicles or have abnormal pain and sensations in the genital area, consult with a health care specialist immediately.

The Right to say NO!

  • Often times, men are perceived to only have one thing in mind, sex. However, you realize this just isn’t true. Many times a female partner wants to be physical and her male counterpart feels obligated to participate because men should always be ready. Just like women, men have the right to say NO! Men should never feel pressured into sexual relations, as there are times when you will not be in the mood due to a variety of reasons. Choosing not to have sex when your partner wants to is ok, and you do have the right to say NO!

Issues with Sex

  • There are several issues with sexual practices that men deal with relating to the body and sexual performance. These issues are usually kept particularly quiet, yet they are common for men of all ages.

 

Premature Ejaculation

  • One of the most common forms of sexual dysfunction for males. Premature ejaculation is uncontrolled ejaculation happening before or shortly after sexual penetration, before the male is ready. This often results in a bad sexual experience for both partners.
  • Premature Ejaculation happens without a defined reason. It can and may occur when with a new partner, in specific sexual situations, or when it has been a long time since the last ejaculation. Anxiety, guilt, depression, energy levels, and alcohol use can all cause premature ejaculation.

 

How You Can Control the Problem

  • Know Yourself
    • Be aware of your sexual response and as you approach “that moment,” ease stimulation by slowing your pace and consider pausing your activity for a moment until the feeling subsides.
    • Do this repeatedly as you as needed, and you will soon recognize some improvement in your ability.
  • Use a Condom
    • Sexual intercourse can be very sensational for men. Often times, men find that the sensation is reduced by wearing a condom, helping to prolong the activity. NEVER use more than ONE condom at a time.
  • Masturbation
    • It may be difficult to delay an orgasm after a period of inactivity. Masturbation is an alternative to sexual inactivity which can be used to prevent premature ejaculation. Masturbating before a sexual experience can relieve performance pressures and provide a more controllable encounter.
  • Limit Alcohol Before Performance
    • Although alcohol use can sometimes delay, or even prevent an orgasm, it too can be the cause of premature ejaculation. Your body may not be able to sustain performance if it becomes dependent upon alcohol as an aid.
    • Additionally, alcohol impairs decision making ability and when used irresponsibly often results in unplanned pregnancy and/or STIs.
  • Prescription Drugs
    • When prescribed by a licensed physician, prescription drugs can be used to delay ejaculation. However, this should only be taken as recommended by your physician. Much like alcohol, many creams only lessen the sensation and may potentially do the same for your partner.

Understanding LGBT Sexual Health and Wellness Issues

This page has information for individuals who identify as LGBT.

  • Lesbian – A female with physical and emotional attraction to other females.
  • Gay – A person who possesses a desire for people of the same sex. This person also has a physical and emotional attraction to individuals of the same sex.
  • Bisexual – A person who feels physical and emotional attraction to members of both the male and female genders. Male or female preference varies with each bisexual.
  • Transgender – A person whose gender identity is different from the identity typically associated with their birth assigned sex.

Lesbian

  • Women involved with other women in sexually active relationships should consider several factors in order to remain healthy and to reduce their risk of STIs:
    • Behavior is the most important factor in determining risk levels for contracting an infection. Although the risk of serious infections for woman-to-woman sexual activity is considered to be less than other gender interaction, women with infections can still transmit them by participating in activities where their partners where fluids are transferred from woman-to-woman.
    • To ensure safe sex, do not participate in activities where fluids are transferred from one partner to another. Always have sores and abnormal symptoms checked by a physician.
    • Get checked for STIs regularly, especially with each new partner.
    • Body fluids that most commonly carry infection are: blood, vaginal fluids, and discharges from sores as a result of STIs.
    • Abstinence is the best policy for complete safety.
    • Safe sex is for all sexual orientations. Be sure to clean toys that you share with your partner and consider using latex barriers to prevent the passing of body fluids.

Gay

  • Men who are sexually active with other men are at a higher risk of contracting STIs and HIV/AIDS than any other sexual orientation.
  • In 2006, gay men represented 48 percent of the more than 1 million people in the United States infected with HIV.
  • Gay men are estimated to be 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer.
  • Gay men should consider the many ways to lower their risk of getting a STI:
    • Avoid allowing your partner’s body fluids to get into your body.
    • Consistently be checked for STIs, a minimum of once per year. However, it is recommended that you be checked with each new partner.
    • To reduce the risk of STI, consider body rubbing, passionate kissing, and masturbation. It is important to remember that some infections can be transferred simply through body-to-body contact.
    • Anal intercourse is the highest risk activity for gay men. Use of a latex condom and lubricant is highly encouraged for those who proceed with anal intercourse. Although neither product can guarantee to prevent STIs, when combined and used correctly they offer an opportunity to lower the normal risk.

Bisexual

  • Research suggests that bisexual women with large numbers of female partners are more likely to have vaginal infections.
  • Studies show that bisexual men, as well as gay men, are more likely to report being infected with a STI than any other sexual orientation.

Transgender

  • Transgender women, male-to-female, are found to have HIV rates ranging from 5 to 68 percent. This number is significantly higher than transgender men, female-to-male, where the rates fall in between 2 and 3 percent.

STI’s 101

Sexually transmitted infections are occurring more frequently and occur most often in people ages 25 and under.  Some sexually transmitted infections pose lingering health problems–even if treated–including:

  • Genital warts (caused by the human papilloma virus) have been linked to the development of cervical cancer in young women and, less frequently, penile cancer in men.
  • Chlamydia or gonorrhea can lead to infertility in women. Additionally, they have been linked to a rise in ectopic pregnancies and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • Genital herpes, presently incurable and recurrent in men and women, has been linked to increased risk of HIV transmission due to lesion outbreaks in the genital area.

STI Testing

Who should be tested?

  • Generally, anyone who has had sexual contact with another person, regardless of the partner’s gender should be tested for STIs.
  • Sexual contact includes genital skin-to-skin contact, intimate body fluid contact, and/or genital, anal, or oral contact.
  • Remember that many STIs cause no symptoms, so feeling fine does not mean you are free from STIs. Consistent condom use can decrease the chance of acquiring an STI, but cannot protect completely against all STIs.

Where can I get tested?

Health Promotion and Wellness Services in partnership with Unity Wellness provides HIV testing.

Where: Health Promotion and Wellness Services, Student Center Suite 1206.

When: Wednesdays from 1 PM to 3 PM.

All tests are conducted by Unity Wellness Center. All testing is confidential, safe and private but not anonymous. Get tested and know your status in as little as 1 minute and receive free HIV information in the process!

Why should I consider getting tested?

To know your HIV status is important for your health, your relationships, your life and your future. The growth of new infections continues to pose serious health risks. According to the CDC, today in the U.S. 1.2MM people are infected with HIV. 20% of those infected are unaware of their HIV status. Testing is the gateway to treatment and effective treatment is a great HIV prevention tool—it saves lives and prevents HIV transmission.
An estimated 38,700 Americans became newly infected with HIV in 2016. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men bear the greatest burden by risk group, representing an estimated 26,000 of new HIV infections per year (open to thoughts about inclusion of sexual orientation stats) 
In 2017, youth aged 13 to 24 made up 21% (8,164) of the 38,739 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas. Youth with HIV are the least likely of any age group to be linked to care in a timely manner and have a suppressed viral load.
How would I know if my partner has an STI?
  • You may not know if your partner is infected. Many infections cause no symptoms (your partner(s) may not know that they have an infection either).
  • Some common symptoms could include (but are not limited to): pain with urination or frequent urination, pain in the genital area or lower abdomen, unusual vaginal, urethral, or anal discharge, new sores or bumps, or bleeding or pain with intercourse.
Is there a way to be tested for all STIs?
  • The short answer is “no,” usually not at one visit.
  • STIs reveal themselves in different ways and at different times. Some are diagnosed visually, and may not appear for many months.
  • The most reliable STI testing will be possible when a person is educated about STIs, acknowledges their own risks, and has ongoing good communication with their health care provider.
Which STIs are curable?
  • STIs that are caused by bacteria, such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, are most easily curable.
  • Some STIs are caused by viruses. These are not usually curable, but are treatable.
What should I expect at an appointment for testing?
  • You will be asked personal questions about your medical and sexual history to help determine your STI risks and concerns.
  • STI testing is individualized. Your answers are kept confidential. This information is important because tests are often time sensitive, and are most accurate when done after or within certain time intervals.
  • With your consent, a physical exam can also be done. For females this will involve a pelvic exam, and for males, most often a brief exam of the genitals.
    • Let your provider know if you have symptoms or issues that concern you before he or she does the exam. The physical exam helps diagnose STIs that do not show up on other tests. For females, although a pelvic exam is done, a pap smear is not always done at an appointment to check for STIs. A female may, however, opt to have some STI testing done at the time of a scheduled pap smear.
  • You may be asked to leave a urine sample, and/or a culture may be done with a swab, and/or you may also wish to have blood work done.
  • There may be brief discussion about how to reduce your risks for STIs.
  • There may be some charges made to your student account for labs or medicines. Your care provider should let you know which services my require additional charges, but be sure to ask if you have questions.
What kinds of tests are available at the Auburn University Medical Clinic?
  • At the Medical Clinic, you can be tested for:
    • Chlamydia
    • Gonorrhea
    • Herpes
    • Syphilis
    • HIV
    • HPV
    • Hepatitis A, B, and C
    • Many other, less common tests can also be arranged
How do I make an appointment?
  • To schedule your personalized clinical consultationcall the Medical Clinic at 334-844-4416.

Visit STIwizard to find out if you should be tested and which STIs you should be tested for.

Men’s Sexual Health Exams

TESTICULAR SELF EXAM

Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in men ages 15-34. Beginning at age 15, you should examine your testicles monthly and continue the process through your 30s.

A testicular self-examination (TSE) is important since testicular cancer can often be asymptomatic (there may be no symptoms to indicate a medical problem). However, there may be a dull pain in the lower abdomen and a feeling of heaviness and dragging. A monthly examination will allow you to become familiar with the size and feel of your testicles so any abnormality, such as a lump, can be brought to your doctor’s attention.

If detected early, testicular cancer is one of the most easily cured.

How to do a TSE

The best time to check yourself is in the shower or after a warm bath. Fingers glide over soapy skin making it easier to concentrate on the texture underneath. The heat causes the skin to relax, making the exam easier.

  1. Examine each testicle gently with both hands. The index and middle fingers should be placed underneath the testicle while the thumbs are placed on the top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumb and fingers. One testicle may be larger than the other. This is normal.
  2. The epididymis is a cord-like structure on the top and back of the testicle that stores and transports the sperm. Do not confuse the epididymis with an abnormal lump. Now repeat the exam on the other side.
  3. Feel for any abnormal lumps about the size of a pea on the front or the side of the testicle. These lumps are usually painless.

What are the symptoms?
In early stages testicular cancer may be symptomless. When symptoms do occur they include:

  • Lump on the testicle
  • Slight enlargement of one of the testes
  • Heavy sensation in testicles or groin

If you find any hard lumps or nodules, see your doctor promptly.

*Only your doctor can make a diagnosis.

Women’s Sexual Health Exams

GETTING AN ANNUAL WOMEN’S EXAM

When should I go?

Annual routine checkups are the best way to screen for potential problems. You should make an appointment with your health care provider once a year if….

  • if you are over the age of 21
  • if you have ever been sexually active
  • if you are interested in obtaining birth control

It’s best to schedule your annual checkup around day 14 of your menstrual cycle, or about 2 weeks after the starting date of your period. You can also make an appointment for a GYN evaluation (not an annual exam) anytime you experience a change in vaginal discharge, burning, redness, or swelling.

If you’d like to make an appointment at the Women’s Clinic in the Auburn University Medical Clinic you can call 334-844-4416, extension 3.

If you’re interested in getting prescribed birth control pills, vaginal rings, or dep0-provera, an annual exam is required before any of these methods can be obtained.

What’s involved?

The visit may include lab tests (such as a Pap smear and/or tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea), a breast exam and the pelvic exam.  A pelvic exam is a relatively quick procedure consisting of two major parts: a speculum exam, in which your clinician visually examines your cervix and completes any recommended lab tests, and a bimanual exam, where your clinician will feel the position of your internal organs with his/her fingers. The visit will take about one hour, but the actual pelvic exam normally takes about five minutes.

Before Your Appointment

There are a few things you should keep in mind before your appointment:

Do not douche, have sex, or use tampons 48 hours before your exam. These may change the cells of the cervix, which must be left undisturbed in order to get an accurate Pap smear reading.

Make a list of questions to take with you to the exam. Your health care provider is a wealth of information and should be able to answer your questions on your body, birth control, risks associated with different sexual behaviors, and sexually transmitted infection symptoms and prevention.

What Should I Expect?

  1. Head to the Women’s Clinic on the second floor of the Medical Clinic.
  2. When you come into the office, you will be asked to fill out a form of your medical history, date of your last period, and previous sexual activity, such as number of partners and history of condom use. It’s important to be completely honest on this form, even if it’s embarrassing. Your health care provider is there to help you, and the only way s/he can help you is if you provide truthful information.
  3. A staff member will lead you to a room and record some basic health information, such as your height, weight, pulse, blood pressure, and general health.
  4. Next the staff member will lead you to the exam room, where you will be instructed to undress and wait for the clinician. You will be given a hospital gown with an opening in the front, as well as a sheet to cover yourself.
  5. The health care provider and an assistant will come into the room and begin the exam. This will include a thorough breast exam. Your clinician will feel in circles around your breast tissue for any lumps or abnormalities. S/he should also check your glands and abdomen for swelling.
  6. The health care provider will then perform the actual pelvic exam. S/he will position herself at the bottom of the exam table and will visually examine your vulva, looking for any bumps, sores, or other abnormalities. The clinician will then gently insert a heated speculum and open it just enough to get a good look at your cervix. Swabs may be taken of the vaginal walls, as well as a Pap smear, which checks for changes in the cells of the cervix. The important part is to relax!
  7. The bimanual exam is normally the last portion of the examination. Your clinician will insert one or two gloved, lubricated fingers into your vagina, and feel around your abdomen with her other hand. During this, s/he is checking for the size, shape, and position of your uterus.
  8. Your clinician may insert a finger into your rectum to test the condition of your muscles and check for tumors in this area. Again, it’s normal to feel a bit of discomfort and pressure, but this should only last a few seconds.
  9. Every examination allows time for questions and answers. In addition to explaining what s/he is doing, your health care provider should spend some time talking with you about ways to stay healthy, avoid infection, and, if you are sexually active, practice safer sex. This is a good time to bring up that list of questions you prepared earlier!

Whether you visit the Auburn University Medical Clinic or another provider, your experience should be similar to that listed above.

BREAST SELF-EXAMINATION

Breast self-examination (BSE) is one of three ways to detect breast cancer. The best cancer check is a breast x-ray or mammogram. The third way is a clinical breast exam.

BSE is easy to do. Knowing how your breasts look and feel will help you notice any changes. Early detection is the key to successful treatment.

BSE should be done monthly. Check your breasts about one week after your period. If you don’t have regular periods, do it at the same time every month.

American Cancer Society Guidelines for Early Detection

Breast Self-Exam:
Optional, but provides an opportunity to know more about your body and your breasts.

Clinical Exam:
See a doctor or nurse for a physical breast exam. It should be part of a woman’s periodic health examination. A clinical breast exam should occur about every 3 years for women in their 20s & 30s and annually for women over 40.

Mammography:
Women should have a baseline mammogram by age 40 and then once every year.

Healthy Relationships

What is a healthy relationship?

People in healthy relationships respect each other. They are able talk honestly and freely to each other and share decisions. They trust and support each other and respect each other’s independence. Healthy relationships are all about trust, honesty and compromise.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

The signs of a healthy relationship include:

  • Taking care of yourself
  • Respecting your partner’s right to be himself or herself
  • Having your own life outside the relationship
  • Making decisions together and compromising when necessary
  • Resolving conflicts through communication
  • Having more good times than bad

View the Equality Wheel to see how partners interact in healthy relationships.

The signs of an unhealthy relationship include:

  • Focusing all your energy on your partner
  • Trying to change your partner
  • Losing friends and family
  • Dropping activities you enjoy
  • One partner yells, hits, or throws things at the other during arguments
  • Having more bad times than good

View the Dating Violence Wheel to see how power and control exhibit themselves in unhealthy relationships

How to maintain a healthy relationship

They key to maintaining a healthy relationship is having open and honest communication, keeping a life that is still your own, being loving but not overbearing and respecting your partner.

Fast Facts!

  • 1 in 5 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.
  • 1 in 3 girls who have been in a serious relationship say they’ve been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner.
  • 1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship say that a boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend time with their partner.
  • 1 in 3 girls between the ages of 16 and 18 say sex is expected for people their age in a relationship; half of teen girls who have experienced sexual pressure report they are afraid the relationship would end if they did not give in.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 girls who have been in a relationship (23%) reported going further sexually than they wanted to as a result of pressure.

    Above information is from www.loveisrespect.org.

Dating Bill of Rights

I have the right…

  • To always be treated with respect.  In a respectful relationship, you should be treated as an equal.
  • To not be hurt physically or emotionally.  You should feel safe in your relationships at all times.
  • To be in a healthy relationship.  A healthy relationship is not controlling, manipulative, or jealous.  A healthy relationship involves honesty, trust, and communications.
  • To not be hurt physically or emotionally.  You should feel safe in your relationship at all times.
  • To refuse sex or affection at anytime.  A healthy relationship involves making consensual sexual decisions.
  • To not have sex.  Even if you have had sex before, you have the right to refuse sex for any reason.
  • To have friends and activities apart from my boyfriend or girlfriend.  Spending time by yourself, with male or female friends, or with family is normal and healthy.
  • To end a relationship.  You should not be harassed, threatened, or made to feel guilty for ending an unhealthy or healthy relationship.  You have the right to end a relationship for any reason you choose.