I just found out that my girlfriend has been cheating on me. We never used a condom because she’s on the pill, and I thought we were monogamous. Now I’m worried that I might have caught something, but I don’t want other people (like my parents) to know. What should I do?
I’m so sorry to hear that your partner was unfaithful. Be sure to take care of yourself and seek out emotional support if you need it. In the midst of everything, it’s great that you’re thinking about your sexual health. Having unprotected sex with multiple partners can increase risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Since there are documented cases of every common STI at Princeton, it is certainly possible that your girlfriend has been exposed to an STI and transmitted it to you. The best way to know for sure is to get tested. STI testing is available at Princeton, through Sexual Health and Wellness Services at McCosh Health Center.
Scheduling an appointment at Sexual Health and Wellness is easy and discrete — just call 609-258-3141. Appointments are available 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. every day except Tuesday, when appointments begin at 10:15 a.m. Sexual Health and Wellness is on the first floor of McCosh, along with other medical services, so no other students will know the specifics of why you are there. The medical staff will be able to best advise you about your possible risks and tests you may need.
HIV testing is free, and chlamydia and gonorrhea testing is available for only $14. While many insurers (including the Student Health Plan) cover testing services, you can also choose to pay out of pocket if you don’t want the information to show up on your parent’s insurance statement. Moreover, Sexual Health and Wellness can advise you about treatment options if it turns out you have contracted something. Know that treatment is available — apositive test doesn’t mean that you can’t have sex ever again!
In general, routine testing is a good idea if you are sexually active, even if you don’t think you’ve been exposed to an STI. Many STIs are asymptomatic, so your partner may not even be aware she is a carrier. That said, the only 100 percent effective method for preventing STIs is abstinence. If you do choose to engage in sexual activity, you should use a barrier method (such as an internal or external condom) as well as a hormonal method of contraception. Hormonal methods, such as birth control pills, reduce the risk of pregnancy, but do not reduce your risk of acquiring STIs.
Sexual Health and Wellness has great information about different methods of protection, and all students can make an appointment with Sexual Health and Wellness to learn about the risks and benefits of these different methods in order to reduce their own risk of getting STIs. If you’re interested in learning more on your own, Planned Parenthood andBedsider.org also have great information about different methods of birth control. In the meantime, don’t freak out — the testing, treatment and future prevention resources are all here for you!