Let’s Talk about Sex, Baby: Planned Parenthood

The Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA) at the University of Illinois at Springfield held a trivia event about Planned Parenthood on Monday, April 1. During this event, 35 questions were asked, and the winners received free sweaters as prizes. The questions ranged in content from the history of Planned Parenthood and birth control to the services provided by the organization.

Planned Parenthood is a nationwide organization that provides people with resources that focus on reproductive health and well-being. It provides health services while also serving as an advocacy organization for rights to women’s health. There is one location in Springfield, and it is available to be used by people of all ages and all backgrounds. As many politically-savvy people are aware, the most controversial service provided by Planned Parenthood is abortion. All of the procedures are done in a clean and safe environment. Other services provided include birth control, contraceptives, cancer screenings, educational programming, and many others.

Maintaining sexual health is a crucial part of living a happy, healthy life as a whole. According to UIS Health Services, located on the old side of campus, students may do this in a variety of ways. The staff at Health Services state that, even though it may be unrealistic for a lot of individuals, being abstinent from sexual activity is the best way to avoid STIs, unwanted pregnancies, and other complications. The second best options is to use protection, such as condoms and other forms of birth control. Open communication with one’s partner and regular screenings ensure that both parties stay clean. Of course, making sure that consent is just as open is another important factor. Health Services note that there has been a high number of chlamydia cases on campus recently. Knowing one’s partner and getting tested is even more imperative in the face of this information. They also wish that students knew more about the nature of STI transmission, since some students fail to understand that they can still be transmitted through anal and oral sex. Additionally, even if someone has had a partner for a prolonged period of time, this does not eliminate the possibility of said partner cheating and passing on an STI. Using multiple forms of birth control, including condoms, is a good way to prevent this.

Health Services offers a variety of options to help students maintain a healthy sex life. They have free condoms sitting in the lobby and all of the exam rooms on top of the six condom vending machines throughout campus. These are located in HCOM, the bathrooms in Founders Residence Hall, Lincoln Residence Hall and the Student Union, as well as in TRAC outside of the locker rooms. The HCOM condom vending machine will eventually be moved to the new Diversity Center inside of Founders Residence Hall. Students who are sexually active should get tested at least once a year for STls, even if they are asymptomatic. They can do so on campus, with gonorrhea and chlamydia screening priced at $25 each, HIV at $20, and syphilis at $15. Since these are billed to the student account, whether or not testing is covered by insurance is dependent upon the individual and his or her insurance type or company. Students should wait at least two weeks after having sex to get tested in order to avoid false negatives,

and two factors that may influence testing include whether or not there are manifested symptoms and whether or not there was unprotected sex with someone who is known by the student to have an STI. Once in a while,free testing is offered on campus when signs are posted. Free oral contraceptives are available at Health Services, and staff are able to give out referrals for individuals of female anatomy who would prefer internal birth control such as an intrauterine device (IUD). Plan B can also be obtained through Health Services, which can only be taken a maximum of 72 hours prior to unprotected sexual activity to protect against unwanted pregnancy. The more it is used the less effective it is, and this pill can also cause major problems such as infertility, so use discretion and avoid having to use it in the first place. Pregnancy testing on campus is only $5, and this test is automatically conducted for people that come in seeking Plan B or non-emergency birth control. If someone is not a student on campus but wants to receive testing or treatment for either an STI or possible pregnancy, they can seek out a primary care provider, Planned Parenthood, or the Department of Health.