With the information and resources listed here, you can feel prepared to make healthy
choices now and into the future.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
STIs are infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual activity.
They are very common, and many who have them don't show any symptoms. STIs can have
serious health impacts, but the good news is that all STIs are treatable and many
Most of the time, STIs don’t have symptoms, so testing is the only way to know if
you have an STI. If you have had vaginal, anal, or oral sex, talk to your health care
provider about getting tested. At the Health Center, we offer testing, diagnosis and
treatment for a variety of STIs. Usually a simple urine test is all that is needed.
Make an appointment online at Tiger Health Portal or by calling 410-704-2466.
How to prevent an sti
STIs are infections, just like the cold or flu, and there are lots of different ways
to reduce your chances of getting an STI. The most effective way to prevent STIs is
through abstinence (not engaging in sexual activity). If you are sexually active,
there are lots of ways you can make sex safer. One of the best ways is to use a barrier
— like internal/external condoms and/or dental dams — every single time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Free condoms, dental dams,
and lubricant can be obtained at the Health Center.
For additional resources on STI check out:
Request a Workshop
What are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and are they out to get us? Through
this workshop we will take a look at how pop culture and our language shapes our views
about these germs and the people who come in contact with them. Get ready to have
your socks knocked off.
Request this workshop for your hall, club, group, or class.
Not all sex is created equal. The risk of passing on or getting sexually transmitted
infections (STIs) or becoming pregnant varies largely depending on the type of sex
you have. Through a group game, you will learn about the risks associated with different
types of sexual activities, STI prevention, birth control, and how to make safer decisions
about sex. Free safer sex supplies are also provided.
Request this workshop for your hall, club, group, or class.
Depending on what type of sex you are having and with whom, pregnancy may also be
a concern. Using birth control can decrease the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy.
There are many birth control options to choose from and each method has its advantages
and disadvantages. The “best” method will vary by person and situation.
how to get birth control
At the Health Center, we provide prescriptions for birth control pills, Nuva Ring, patch, and Depo-Provera shots. We also offer emergency contraception (Plan B for $20 and Ella for $35) as well as condoms and other safer sex supplies
for free. Call 410-704-2466 or go online to make an appointment for birth control or emergency contraception.
Birth control resources
If you are still doing your research about birth control, consider attending one of
the Health Center's Birth Control Workshops. Whether you are on birth control, considering
going on birth control, or just want to learn more to support a friend or partner,
all are welcome and encouraged to attend. These workshops are hosted in the Health and
Counseling Center basement room 0306 throughout the semester. Check out our events calendar for upcoming birth control workshops. You may also request this workshop for your
class, hall or organization.
If you have questions about this workshop, email HealthEd AT_TOWSON. You may also email to schedule a one-on-one birth control counseling appointment
to discuss your options.
For additional resources check out:
Request a Workshop
Birth Control 101
Did you know there are 20 different methods of birth control? With so many effective
birth control options readily available, how do you know where to start? Through this
workshop, you will learn about the most commonly used birth control methods — how
they work, how to use them, and how to pick one. Whether you have questions for yourself,
a partner, or a friend, this workshop is bound to answer them all.
This workshop is held on a monthly basis at the Health Center in room 0306. Check
out our events calendar for the dates and time.
Breast health begins with an understanding of what is normal for your breasts. To
become familiar with your breasts, look at the shape, color and size of your breasts
and nipples with your arms both down and raised. Use the pads of your fingers to press
firmly around your collarbone, breasts, and underarm area. Knowing how your breasts
vary in sensitivity and texture at different times in your menstrual cycle will help
you know when something is off. If you notice abnormal changes in one or both of your
breasts, consult with a healthcare provider.
Vaginal and Vulvar Health
Good sexual health also means taking care of your body. The good news is, most of
the time vaginas and vulvas take care of themselves. The important thing is knowing
what is normal for you and what may be a sign that there's something wrong.
Vaginas produce a certain amount of fluids daily, so discharge is normal. These normal
secretions allow the vagina to clean itself, and stay lubricated and free from infections
and germs. Normal discharge does not have an strong or foul odor, and is usually clear
or milky in appearance. The amount of discharge varies from person to person, and
can change throughout the month.
Vaginal infections can occur with changes in body pH. Discharge that is different
in color, consistency, or odor may be a sign of an infection. If you notice these changes to your typical discharge,
schedule a visit with the Health Center to check for an infection and get treatment.
signs of a vaginal or vulvar infection
If your discharge changes color, consistency, or odor that may be an indication that you have an infection. Don’t worry, most of the time that just
means taking medication to treat the infection. Other reasons to schedule a visit
at the Health Center include:
- itching, discomfort, or a rash on the skin of the vulva or vagina
- vaginal burning during urination
- the presence of blood when you are not on your period
- pain and/or bleeding during vaginal intercourse
A testicular self-exam is a simple and effective way to recognize the early signs
and symptoms of testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is one of the most frequently
occurring types of cancer in people with testes between the ages of 18 and 35. If
caught early, testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer. If you
notice changes in your testes, consult with a healthcare provider.
Talking to Your Partners
One of the most important parts of sexual health is communication. It is important
to talk to your partners before engaging in sexual activity. Everyone involved needs to be on the same page, and enthusiastic,
about what will take place. Even if you are in a relationship or have engaged in sexual
activity with this partner before, this check-in needs to happen every time. Even
after having this conversation, you can always change your mind about what you do
and do not want to do. It's important to also check in with your partners during sex,
and respect their decision if they change their mind about what they want. If someone
is incapacitated from drugs or alcohol, asleep, or otherwise mentally impaired they
are not able to consent to sexual activity.
Here are some resources to learn more about consent and sexual communication:
In addition to seeing if your partners want to engage in sexual activity, talk with
them about the last time they were tested for an STI and what safer sex methods work
for both of you to prevent STI transmission. If you are engaging in sex that could
result in pregnancy, talk to your partners about birth control options for pregnancy
When should I get tested for STI?
STI testing is recommended if you have been (or may have been) exposed to an STI,
or if you experience symptoms such as:
- unusual discharge
- pain or burning with urination
- genital skin changes (rash, sore, blister, growths)
- pelvic or testicular discomfort or pain
Even if you are not experiencing symptoms STI testing may be recommended. If you are
sexually active, do not use barriers (such as condoms) regularly, have new or multiple
sex partners, or have a sex partner who has been recently diagnosed with an STI, testing
may be recommended for you. Talk with a healthcare provider about which tests may
be right for you.
What happens when I get tested for STI?
STI testing is quick and easy, and usually doesn't hurt. Different STI have different
testing methods. Your healthcare provider can help you figure out which tests you
need, and what may be involved. Routine testing typically involves a urine test, a
mouth swab, and/or a finger prick. If you are experiencing symptoms, your provider
may recommend a physical exam or additional swabs of the vagina, penis, urethra, cervix,
anus, or throat.
What if I find out I have an STI?
If your STI test results come back positive, the best thing to do is follow your healthcare
provider's directions for treatment. You should also tell any current or recent sex
partners so that they can get tested and receive treatment. The good news is, many
STI can be easily cured with medication. There are many ways to manage symptoms of
STI and prevent passing on to future sex partners.
Is STI testing free on campus?
The Towson University Health Center does not provide STI testing free of charge. However,
the Health Center accepts most insurance plans, which usually cover STI testing.
The first and third Tuesday of each month Baltimore County Health Department provides
free rapid HIV testing from noon - 4pm in the Health Center.
What if I want a birth control method that isn't offered at the Health Center?
If you are interested in a birth control method that is not available at the Towson
University Health Center (such as the implant or IUD), you can schedule an appointment
at a different local health clinic such as Planned Parenthood.
Can I use Plan B if I’m over 165 pounds?
How can I avoid getting vaginal infections?
To reduce the likelihood of vaginal infections follow these tips:
- use unscented menstrual hygiene products
- avoid douching or cleaning the vagina and vulva with soaps
- maintain a healthy diet
- use barriers (internal or external condoms, dental dams) for vaginal sex
- treat infections when they arise
- use unscented and unflavored water-based or silicone-based lubricants during vaginal
- wear breathable cotton underwear
- when you use the restroom, always wipe from front to back
Is Zika an STI?
Zika is a virus that is spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes and can cause
birth defects. There is also evidence that it can be passed from human to human through
sexual intercourse. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, headache, joint
pain, red eyes and muscle pain. The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself
from mosquito bites, especially if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
You can also use barrier methods to prevent the sexual transmission of Zika. For more information about Zika, follow this link to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention website.