• Sexual health

  • Abstinence

    Abstinence is defined in many different ways. Some people define abstinence as not engaging in penis-vagina sex. For other people, it is not engaging in any type of sexual activity with another person. Abstinence, when defined as not engaging in any type of sexual activity with another person, is the only 100% effective form of safe sex. 

    Any type of sexual activity that involves contact with another person's body fluids may lead to unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Abstinence prevents unintended pregnancy and the transmission of STIs. It is possible for people to be abstinent at any point during their lives, even after they have engaged in sexual activity with another person. There are many reasons why people choose to be abstinent. It is a personal decision that someone makes, and the decision can change at any time.

    For more information about abstinence, please click on the links below:

  • Birth control

    Birth control, or contraception, is used to prevent pregnancy.  There are many different types of contraception available, for both men and women.  This page describes birth control methods for women.  Click on the below links to learn more about the types of contraception available, including how to use them and how effective they are.

    Female students can be seen by appointment in the University Health Service Women's Health clinic for hormonal contraception, including birth control pills, the patch, Depo-Provera (the shot), and the ring. Non-hormonal contraception, including diaphragms and condoms, are also available.

    To make an appointment for contraceptive information, please call University Health Service at 859-323-2778 (APPT).

    It is possible for women who take certain types of hormonal contraception to stop their periods, either temporarily or long-term.  Medically, there is no reason that a woman has to have a period every month.  Not having a period can help reduce pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), as well as other menstruation issues that some women may experience.  If you are interested in suppressing your period, speak to your health care provider.  You can also click on the below links for more information.

  • Emergency contraception

    Emergency contraception can be used to decrease the risk of pregnancy following unprotected sex or a known or suspected failure in your current method of birth control.

    Several types of emergency contraception are available. Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) consist of synthetic hormones similar to those normally found in your body. Plan B One step is available over the counter without a prescription for anyone age 17 or over. It is available at the UHS pharmacy at a discounted rate.

    How do I take emergency contraceptive pills?

    Plan B One Step is taken as soon as possible within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. It may be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse, but effectiveness decreases as the time between intercourse and the start of ECPs increases.

    How do emergency contraceptive pills work?

    Depending on the time in the menstrual cycle when ECPs are taken, they may delay or inhibit ovulation, interrupt fertilization or prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.

    How effective is emergency contraception?

    The sooner a woman takes ECP after unprotected sex, the more effective it will work.  If taken as directed, ECPs are up to 89% effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

    Do emergency contraceptive pills cause an abortion?

    No. ECPs do not interrupt an established pregnancy. Once implantation of a fertilized egg into the woman's uterus occurs, ECPs have no effect. If you have had prior unprotected intercourse in this cycle and are already pregnant, you will remain pregnant. There is no current evidence that ECPs harm a developing fetus.

    Are there side effects if I take emergency contraceptive pills?

    It is fairly common to have some temporary side effects, which typically subside within a day or two after the second dose. Some women may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, headache, fatigue, dizziness or breast tenderness. Medication to reduce nausea is available in the University Health Service.

    How will emergency contraceptive pills affect my period?

    Your menstrual period may begin on time, a few days early, or a few days late. If you do not have a period within three (3) weeks after taking emergency contraceptive pills, you should speak to your health care provider about taking a pregnancy test, as there may be a chance that you could be pregnant.

    Emergency contraceptive pills do not provide ongoing protection against pregnancy! Emergency contraception is not a substitute for, and is less effective than, the consistent and correct use of an ongoing method of contraception. Emergency contraceptive pills provide no protection from sexually transmitted infections. A health educator, the Health and Wellness Nurse, or your clinician will be glad to discuss contraceptive options with you.

    For further information about emergency contraception or to learn about other contraceptive methods call 859-323-5823 ext 8-3264.