Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening and Treatment

Health Services offers free condoms (latex and latex-free) along with dental dams to UA Little Rock students and employees. They are available in the Health Services waiting room. Learn more about birth control options and information on sexual health.

College is a time of increased freedom and experimentation for most students fresh out of high school. For many, this newfound independence includes making choices about sex. But record-high numbers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and an ever-present risk of HIV infection, make “in the heat of the moment” decisions risky.

If you are worried about symptoms you or your partner are experiencing or if you simply want to have a screening or a private conversation with a provider, call the clinic. We offer confidential STI screening, evaluation, and treatment.

STI Screening and Prevention

STIs are transmitted through vaginal, oral, and/or anal contact. Some STIs are transmitted through fluids such as vaginal secretions and semen, while others are transmitted with skin-to-skin contact.

In order to reduce the risk of STI transmission, it is recommended that condoms and/or dental dams be used every time, with every partner. The only way to completely prevent the transmission of STIs is abstinence.

New Partner? Get Tested!

If you are beginning a new relationship or are thinking about entering a new relationship soon, this is the perfect time to get tested for STIs. Knowing your STI status, and getting treatment if necessary, will help you start a new sexual relationship with confidence. Ask your partner to get tested as well.

Exchanging test results and discussing them with your partner may feel awkward at first, but it’s a powerful step in taking charge of your sexual health. It’s a step any responsible new partner will appreciate. If a new partner refuses to get tested or refuses to share their test results with you, that is a relationship red flag you should pay attention to.

It’s impossible to know for sure whether or not your partner is engaging in risky sexual behavior with others, especially if it is a new relationship. Even if both you and your partner are STI-free, it is recommended that you use condoms and/or dental dams. For your own safety, and for pregnancy prevention, you should insist on using protection at least until you are in a committed, stable, long-term and monogamous relationship, and you have other options in place for pregnancy prevention if that applies to you.

Multiple Partners or Frequent New Partners?

If you have multiple sexual partners or ‘hook up’ with new partners frequently, it’s especially important to use condoms and/or dental dams every time you have sex. Additionally, since accidents happen and condoms and dental dams are not 100% effective, it’s a good idea to get tested for STIs on a regular basis, for example, every two to three months.

Are you a person who can become pregnant? Do you have sex with men? If so, it’s a good idea to use a backup form of pregnancy prevention in addition to condoms. When used correctly, condoms help prevent STIs, but they are not the most reliable method of pregnancy prevention. Health Services can help you choose a birth control option that is right for you.

Treating STIs

There are a variety of treatments available for STIs. Some infections are bacterial, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, and can be cured with antibiotics. Other infections are viral, such as herpes and HIV, and while there are no cures available, there are medications to reduce the severity of symptoms.

STI or STD? What’s the Difference?

Diseases that are spread through sexual contact are usually referred to as sexually transmitted diseases or STDs for short. In recent years, however, many experts in this area of public health have suggested replacing STD with a new term—sexually transmitted infection, or STI.

Why the change? The concept of “disease,” as in STD, suggests a clear medical problem, usually some obvious signs or symptoms. But several of the most common STDs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of persons infected. Or they have mild signs and symptoms that can be easily overlooked. So the sexually transmitted virus or bacteria can be described as creating “infection,” which may or may not result in “disease.” This is true of chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV), to name a few.