Sexual Health

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Being in college may present itself with the opportunity for intimate relationships and the chance that you will become sexually active. If you do decide to become sexually active, always ensure you get consent, are using effective protection and consulting with a GP if you engage in unprotected sex.

What is Consent?

Mutually, freely, and voluntarily agreeing to engage in a sexual activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any time before or during the sexual activity. In addition, consent must be given every time you want to engage in a sexual activity.

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Consent is not given Under the Following Circumstances:

  • Person is asleep

  • Unconscious

  • Forced or pressured

  • Threatened

  • Under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol

  • Unable to communicate

Any non-consensual sexual activity is considered a sexual violence. The law defines rape and sexual assault to have occurred when there has been penetration (even slightly) including that done by objects controlled by another person (i.e. Sex toys), and where any sort of sexual touching has occurred without consent. Sexual violence can occur even if you are in a relationship.

If you need support around rape or sexual violence contact the National 24-Hour Helpline: 1800 77 8888 or text service (Mon-Fri 8:00am-6:30pm) 086 823 8443

What Types of Contraceptive Are There?

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Condoms

  • Barrier method which prevents pregnancies and protects against STI’s

  • There are two types of condoms which include male condoms, and internal-female condoms

  • 98% effective when used properly every time

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The Pill

  • Prescription drug that prevents pregnancy

  • Does not protect against STI’s

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The Injection

  • Shot provided by a healthcare professional every 12 weeks

  • Prevents pregnancy

  • Does no protect against STI’s

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The Patch

  • Plaster which a women wears for 7 days at a time

  • The plaster will be worn for three weeks and then there will be a one week break

  • Protects against unplanned pregnancy

  • Does not protect against STI’s

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Diaphragm

  • Known as “the cap” and is placed over a women’s cervix

  • Prevents pregnancy

  • Spermicide can be used for increased protection

  • Does not protect against STI’s

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Emergency Contraception

  • Known as “the morning after pill”

  • Women can take it when they have engaged in unprotected sexual activity

  • Can be purchased at a chemist and taken without a prescription

  • Does not protect against STI’s

What is an STI?

STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection and is something that can be contracted when two people engage in unprotected sex. STI’s can range from chlamydia, gonorrhoea, Herpes, HPV, and HIV (Aids). A person can contract an STI through intercourse, genital-to-genital, oral sex, or even from sharing sex toys. The best way to protect from an STI is through using a condom properly. Also, if you engage in any sort of unprotected sex, ensure to be tested regularly.

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Where Can I get Tested?

Carlow District Hospital, STI Clinic, Athy Road, Carlow

Hours by appointment: Alternate Tuesdays 10:30am-11:15am & 1:00pm-3:00pm

Phone: 051 842 646

Waterford Regional Hospital, Dunmore Road, Waterford City

Hours by appointment: Mondays 9:00am-11:00am & 2:00pm-3:30pm, Tuesday to Friday 9:00am-11:00am

Telephone: (051) 842 646

What Happens if I Become Pregnant?

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If engaging in unprotected sex, it is important to note that there are three options available for you to access free of charge in Ireland. The three options are abortion (up to 12 weeks), adoption, or keeping the baby. The decision to terminate or keep the pregnancy is completely up to you!

To discuss your options about an unplanned pregnancy contact the My Options helpline at 1800 828 010. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.