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Photo: Aurelia Mouton

By Jaime Watkins

Upon arriving in Stellenbosch as a new student, newcomers are most likely to have been given advice on a number of topics. Mentors or senior students may provide newcomers with survival tips such as to walk home in groups after a night out. They may also provide newcomers with financial tips like where to get the best drinks specials. 

Unfortunately, some crucial advice may fall through the cracks of conversation or be avoided altogether. Sexual health is one of these topics. The Stellenbosch University (SU) website states that maintaining one’s sexual health (reproductive health) is an aspect of one’s life that can ensure a “satisfying and safe” sex life. Part of ensuring this is by remaining informed. 

 Being sexually active is not something to be ashamed of. It is important for those who are sexually active to get smart about how to maintain both their and their partner’s safety. 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diseases that are typically passed from one person to another through sexual activity. Sexual activity does not just mean penetrative sex – it includes all types of sex – and it’s important to know that STIs can be transmitted simply by having direct skin contact with someone. 

Communication between sexual partners, whether long or short-term, is incredibly important. Moreover, to save themselves a lot of pain (both physical and emotional) those who are sexually active should know where to get help if they think they have contracted something. 

Stellenbosch Campus Health has easily accessible information about the most common STIs available on their website. Furthermore, they offer free HIV testing and STI screening. If Die Matie can offer up one final piece of advice it would be no glove no love, condomise don’t compromise. Condoms and lube are both freely available in a number of campus bathrooms for students’ use! They are the simplest line of defense against itchy, painful, and unwanted visitors.

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