September is Sexual Health Awareness Month! I mean, we celebrate this all the time at Pandia Health but now we have an official annual announcement about it! But, what exactly is sexual health? Basically, it’s learning how to avoid diseases and unplanned pregnancies, and how to experience pleasure and intimacy in respectful and desired ways.

Sounds wonderful, right? The thing is, before you can get to the juicy stuff, there are some serious topics we must discuss like STIs and birth control. Preventing STIs and taking birth control are key components to ensuring a sexually healthy lifestyle. Guaranteeing that young people (that’s you!) have access to the info and services you need is essential to your sexual and reproductive health, rights and well-being.

So, what do you need to know about STIs/STDS? STIs are sexually transmitted diseases or infections that are passed on during unprotected sex with an infected partner. This includes vaginal, anal or oral sex, and some can even be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.

You’ve probably heard of ones like HIV/AIDS, gonorrhoea, and herpes — not super pleasant sounding, huh? Luckily, there are many ways to prevent getting them!

1. Wear a Condom!

Condoms are amazing because they protect against pregnancy AND STIs! You should always wear one — check to make sure it is not expired and be sure to put on a new one when switching between oral and penetrative sex.

2. Get Tested

Get tested! Check to see if your university offers free or discounted STI testing. You can also head to your local Planned Parenthood for cheap testing or perform a DIY test. Also, encourage your sexual partner(s), friends, family members, classmates to get tested!

3. Medicine

Take drugs — no, not the kind that destroys your body and mind. PEP, a combination of HIV drugs that can stop the virus taking hold, can be used after any sexual activity if you’ve put yourself at risk of HIV transmission. PrEP is an HIV prevention tool in which an HIV-negative person takes antiretroviral medication to reduce the risk of contracting HIV. Always remember: PEP and PrEP!

4. Be Smart & Responsible

  • Be smart about who you engage in sexual activities with. If you’re at a party or a club and see someone cute, don’t be afraid to start a conversation! Just make sure you are comfortable if things begin to escalate and ask the person if he/she/they have been tested — disrupting the mood won’t matter at all if it turns out the person has an STI!

5. Wellness

Part of sexual health includes taking care of your mind and body. Set annual reminders to schedule family and wellness visits, such as a breast exam or pap test. Do activities that bring you joy – even if that means bringing your favorite reality T.V. show for a couple of hours and vegging out. Whatever it may be, finding ways that bring you happiness, and ultimately helps you love yourself matters in your overall sexual health.  

6. Birth Control

Now, on to birth control! If you’ve hung around the Pandia blog awhile, you’ll know that birth control can do SO many other things besides prevent pregnancy! It can help reduce acne, decrease menstruation pain, and regulate hormones.

So, how do you get this magical tool at an affordable price? Just sign up for Pandia Health and talk with our expert doctors to figure out which contraceptive method is right for you – we deliver the pill, patch, and ring to you for FREE! Reduce the anxiety of having to go to the pharmacy to pick up your prescription and having to remember to order it with the help of Pandia!

Now, let’s go raise awareness about sexual health! ✊

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider before starting or changing treatment.