Sexual and Reproductive Health

Services

The Brandeis Health Center offers a variety of services, including STI testing, emergency contraception, and routine screenings and preventive care.

You can also access sexual health services in Boston:

Safer Sex Practices

Like most things in life, sexual activity comes with some risks. The good news is that you can make educated decisions about which risks you're willing to take, and utilize safer sex practices like these to reduce those risks.

Using Contraception to Prevent Pregnancy

Contraception (often called "birth control") is a great option for those for whom unintended pregnancy is a risk. There are four primary kinds of birth control:

  1. Barrier methods such as condoms prevent sperm from meeting an egg by creating a physical, impenetrable barrier. Other barrier methods include the diaphragm and cervical cap.

  2. Hormonal methods such as the pill, ring, and some intrauterine devices (IUDs), prevent pregnancy by releasing hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. Some people prefer this option because it may alleviate some menstrual symptoms.

  3. Non-hormonal IUDs are made of plastic and a small amount of natural, safe copper. The copper interferes with sperm movement, egg fertilization, and possibly prevents egg implantation in the uterine wall. Some people prefer this option because it does not affect their menstrual cycle.

  4. Spermicide can be a cream, foam, film or gel that immobilizes sperm. The chemical in spermicide can cause skin irritation and micro-tears in tissue that make it easier for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to pass through.

  5. Emergency contraception (EC) can be used after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. If someone is already pregnant, EC will not end the pregnancy. EC is available at the Health Center and at local pharmacies. Visit the Health Center website to learn more about accessing EC.

Each form of contraception has different levels of efficacy, as well as different side effects. Visit Bedsider.org to explore and compare methods and decide which might be best for you. You can also make an appointment at Health Services to explore options with a medical provider.

Using Barrier Methods to Prevent STIs

STIs are very common and can be transmitted in three ways.

Barrier methods, listed below, are one of the most popular and effective ways to prevent the transmission of STIs. 

Lubrication is important when using barrier methods. Too much friction can result in breakage, and can also cause discomfort. There are three primary kinds of lube:

Accessing Safer Sex Products

Latex external/male condoms are available for free in the Health Center waiting room.

Additionally, a wide variety of barrier methods and lubes are available through the Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS) for a small fee. SSIS is a student-run peer education and support organization and is located on the third floor of the Shapiro Campus Center.

Sexual Health Resources