Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
You can get an STI when you engage in unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex or by contact with an infected sore or ulcer on someone’s body. Condoms can reduce your risk of contracting STIs when used correctly for each sexual encounter, but they do not provide 100% protection.
Student Health Services provides confidential counseling for Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention and risk reduction. Student Health offers STI testing, diagnosis and treatment and immunizations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and HPV (Gardasil) for a fee.
Students can get the OraQuick HIV test for free at Student Health Services. An oral gum swab is taken and the specimen is tested. Call 703-993-2831 to schedule your appointment.
Mason RAs and RSOs can submit the online Safer Sex Condom Request Form to request external (male) condoms, dental dams, and lubrication for building residents or event attendees. Individual students can pick up free external condoms from the Fairfax Clinic in SUB 1 during operating hours.
Prevention and Precautions
Since a person who has a STI may have no symptoms, if you are sexually active you should know your STI status. Get regular check-ups and STI screenings. If you know you are infected you can take steps to protect yourself and your partners.
STIs can be prevented by practicing safer sex, by abstaining from sex, by learning about your partner’s sexual history, and by avoiding contact with abnormal bumps, ulcers or sores.
Signs and Symptoms
Some STIs cause no symptoms, and many people with STIs have no symptoms. Get tested. Some common symptoms can include:
- Unusual genital discharge
- Burning or pain during urination or a bowel movement
- Bumps, blisters, ulcers, or sores near the mouth or genitals
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, and aches
- Swelling in the groin area
- Abdominal discomfort
If You Test Positive for an STI
STIs are treatable and some are curable. If you or your partner is infected with an STI, you should start treatment and take precautions to avoid getting re-infected. An untreated infection can lead to serious health problems, even if you never have symptoms. Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan and recommendations.
Tell your partner(s) about having an STI. It may feel emotionally uncomfortable, but telling your partner allows them to protect their health, too. Tips for getting the conversation started are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Get Yourself Tested.