The Sexual Health scheme is a very popular welfare service among the student body. Being free to access, the scheme is particularly important in removing barriers to accessing sexual health supplies for students, meaning safer and more responsible sexual activity whilst at University. Every year, Cambridge SU distributes around 40,000 sexual health supplies to Cambridge students and our Welfare Officers also work in tandem with local charities to provide free STI test drop-in sessions. 

 

PERSONAL USE

Any student at the University of Cambridge can collect free sexual health supplies direct from the Cambridge SU building - just pop along to the reception desk. What's more, you will soon be able to order supplies online for a discreet, no-questions-asked click and collect service.

 

Your J/MCR Supplier

Ever wondered where the sexual health supplies in College come from? We work with your J/MCR officers to ensure your college is well stocked of all supplies by providing them with monthly packs of condoms (in a range of sizes), dental dams, female condoms, lube and pregnancy testing kits. If you notice College supplies are running low, be sure to let your Welfare/Women’s/LGBT+ Officers know so they can order more.

 

Introduction to sexual activity

University may be the first time you or others become sexually active, or regularly engage in sexual activity. So, it’s important that you’re fully informed about sexual health.

  • Definitions of sex vary, and so do if and when people want to engage in it.

  • Sex can be very fun and great for mental and physical health, for those who choose to engage in it.

  • Sex must be consensual, meaning that all those participating are doing so actively and willingly. Importantly, consent to one activity does not mean consent to all activities, nor several times meaning all the time. For more information, see this simple cup-of-tea explanation and SU Women's Campaign's Sexual Consent Campaign.

  • For more a detailed explanation of terms, including types of sex, applicable to all genders and sexualities, see the SU LGBT+ Campaign's Sexual Health Guide.

  • See the NHS Sexual Health Hub for detailed information about contraceptives, FAQs, penis and vagina health, STIs, good sex, LGBT+ sexual health, fertility and menopause.

 

Using protection

While sex can be fun, it should also be safe. Protection should be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) being spread.

  • The NHS Contraception Guide provides information on types of protection and how to use them. This simple diagram of how to put on a condom correctly is also useful.

  • Cambridge SU provides a wide range of sexual health supplies to students for free

  • Lube is used to decrease friction and reduce the risk of supplies tearing. Only use water-based lubricants (e.g. saliva, branded lube) as oil-based lubricants, like lip balm or butter, disintegrate latex, i.e. condoms.

  • Supplies can all be collected from the Cambridge SU Reception at 17 Mill Lane, 9am – 6.30pm on weekdays, in or out of term-time. (Note reduced opening hours out-of-term). Alternatively, you can access supplies in your College. Check with your College Welfare Officer how supplies are distributed in your college if you’re uncertain.

  • Once you’ve collected supplies, make sure you store them correcting (out of direct sunlight), and check they have a kitemark and are in-date before using them. Supplies are only to be used once, and then disposed. Breakage during usage greatly reduces protection; lube, and correct storage, reduces the risk of this.

 

Other contraceptives

Other contraceptives may be used prevent pregnancy, though these do not prevent STI transmission. See guides provided by the NHS and FPA (Family Planning Association).

 

STIs

Sexual Transmitted Infections are infections that may be passed on during sexual activity, including close sexual contact and oral sex. While they are nothing to be embarrassed about (they happen), steps should be taken to avoid catching and spreading STIs, and to treat them.

  • STIs do not always have obvious symptoms (chlamydia often doesn’t). So, it’s useful to get regular STI tests if sexually active with new partners, and to encourage partners to do the same.

  • While not all curable, all STIs are treatable and can be managed. The earlier they are treated, the better.

  • NHS information about STI symptoms and tests.

  • Visiting a sexual health clinic is free, confidential and non-judgmental. Remember, they’ve seen everything before! NHS information about clinics.

  • Your nearest sexual health clinic is the Lime Tree Clinic, located on Mill Rd. Your GP can also conduct some STI tests. DHIVERSE (on Gwydir St) notably offers tests and support for HIV.

  • You can order some STI tests online for free if you’re under 25, e.g. Chlamydia tests from don’t pass it on.

 

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception – the ‘morning-after’ pill or a coil – exists. ‘Morning-after’ pills and can be obtained free from a pharmacy (e.g. Boots) following a consultation, or purchased for around £25; for more information about where to obtain one, see here.

 

Pregnancy

  • Like other supplies, pregnancy tests can be collected directly from Cambridge SU or from your Welfare Officer. If the test is positive, it is advisable to do a further test to confirm, as false positives do occur.

  • Among other places, medical advice, including about abortions, is available from your College Nurse and GP, and non-medical advice from the Student Advice Service and your tutor.

 

Support if you experience non-consensual ‘sex’

Hopefully this will never happen, but if you do experience sexual harassment, assault or rape, know that you are not alone and it was not your fault. In addition to the options of reporting the incident(s) to your College, the University or the Police, the University Counselling Service has compiled a self-help list of the support services available to you and you can speak to the Sexual Assault & Harrasment Advisor. You could also seek support in College, from your common room officer, nurse, counsellor and/or tutor, from your GP (e.g. for medication), and the Students Advice Service (e.g. if you want support reporting it).