You may remember that awkward day in health class when you learned about the reproductive system, but did they teach you about LGBTQIA+ sexual health needs as well? Most often the answer is no as there’s a huge lack in sexual education during primary education–and an even bigger gap for education on safe LGBTQIA+ sex. 

Determine the risk for STI’s and Pregnancy 

STI’s and pregnancy are the two most common questions when it comes to heterosexual sex. But how does the definition of “safe sex” change when referring to LGBTQIA+ sex? Here’s some important things to know: 

Pregnancy

Pregnancy occurs once an egg is fertilized by sperm. Pregnancy is a risk when both partners have the anatomy for it. There are several options for preventing pregnancy such as birth control, condoms, and other creams or pills such as “Plan B” to help prevent unwanted pregnancy. For those who were assigned female and are taking testosterone may still be able to get pregnant 

Birth Control

Again, pregnancy is only a risk when both parties have the anatomy for it. However, many others may want to use birth control for other reasons.  

Health & Wellness Services has several birth control options available that you can get right on campus. When you schedule an appointment for birth control, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss options with a health care provider and what works best for your body and lifestyle before you make a decision.  

STI’s

No gender identity or sexuality is immune to STI’s. Make sure to get tested often if you are with multiple partners and always wear a condom or another form of protection while engaging in sexual activity 

Some immunizations help to offer extra protection as well, such as Hepatitis A & B and the HPV vaccineHealth & Wellness Services has these immunizations available to those who are interested. 

Consider Medications

Consider taking PrEP to help you stay safe from HIV. PrEP (pre-exposure prophaylaxis) is a medication that an HIV-negative person can take daily to reduce their risk for contracting HIV while being sexual with an HIV-positive person. Consider talking to your doctor if you fall within these groups: 

  • People who are sexual with an HIV-positive person 
  • People who don’t consistently use barriers 
  • Anyone who’s been diagnosed with another STI within the last 6 months 
  • Anyone who uses or has a partner who uses intravenous substances and shares needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject 

Communication is Lubrication

No one wants an unplanned pregnancy or a surprise STI. Talk with your partner about ways you can stay safe and what preventative measures that you both feel comfortable with. Always remember your body is your own choice and never pressure someone into having unsafe sex. 
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Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson graduated in 2020 with a degree in Art: I-Design. As a student, she worked with the University Marketing & Communications team as a writer and photographer. She was hired after graduation to support public health communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.