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Full Disclosure: A Guide to Women’s Sexual Health at UofSC

We all know sexual health is an important part of being a female, but we also know just how awkward it can be to take your pants and undergarments off in a doctor’s office just to put on a not so comfy hospital gown. In light of that, here is a short guide to all things about being a female in 2022, well a sexual guide. 

  • Contraceptives:

The first thing up is contraceptives. Being sexually active can come with a lot of fear in the mindset of how many risks you can run by simply having sex. In grade school, I was taught abstinence first, and then contraceptives. So, coming into college, I felt less than prepared for the world of being a woman (just for reference, being sexually active DOES NOT make you a woman). University Health Services offers several different options for contraceptives, including but not limited to condoms, birth control pills, diaphragms, IUD, and NuvaRings are even offered. The great part about these forms of contraception: your first appointment for these options is purely a consultation appointment. Your physician will walk you through the different forms of contraception that are offered and you can both choose something together that will benefit you the most because, after all, you’re the important one.

  • Well-Women Visits:

I can’t express this enough, please, please, please, complete your yearly checkups with your lady doctor. This appointment can help detect things such as early-onset symptoms of something more severe or even just sexually transmitted diseases. If you want, follow my footsteps, I have my yearly visit in March (Women’s Month, I purposely schedule this appointment in march because if I do happen to forget, I’ll be easily reminded at some point in the month because of women’s month!) every year and even though I may not think there is anything to worry about, I still receive STD testing alongside general testing for other health issues that are heredity. These appointments are the best form of self-care in my opinion, below I give a great description of how to schedule an appointment with UHS at UofSC!

  • General Knowledge to Know:

One thing a lot of people may be deterred by about attending their universities health center is the aspect of not having a regular physician to see. This is not the case! UHS has so many wonderful employees in their Women’s Health wing that it’s super easy to see a regular physician. I am a sophomore and every time I make an appointment, I am always able to see the same physician I see every time. Another pro tip: condoms are expensive, that’s a known fact, but they don’t have to be. Going to CVS, the typical price of Trojan ENZ Condoms is 12ct. is around $16.37 whereas walking over to UHS pharmacy, the price for the same type of condom is only $3.75 for the 12ct. package. If you’re interested in access to free condoms feel free to follow @uofsc_CCPL on Instagram to stay up to date on what events Changing Carolina Peer Leaders are holding. The sexual health SPIG holds a lot of really awesome events that offer free condoms and lube!

  • Scheduling an appointment:

In the time of COVID-19, most students have accessed their university health portal at one time or another. But recently, I have learned that very few students have made an appointment through said portal. First step: you can access your health portal via https://myhealthspace.ushs.sc.edu/. Through this portal, you will use your UofSC system information to log in. Second step: scheduling an appointment! This step is very easy to walk through, your home page will have a blue button where you can make an appointment and once you’ve walked through those steps you’ll have successfully scheduled an appointment! If you don’t have access to this website or are struggling to use it, don’t fret! University Health Services has a few kiosks in their lobby where they frequently help students and faculty alike make an appointment.

  • And Much More:

Women’s Health is here to support you first and foremost. Above, I listed a few things that are popular in this wing of UHS, even though there are so many things this program is capable of helping with. If you’re interested in exploring more of these offerings, feel free to browse their website here.

Being a woman comes with its own set of challenges, especially for those who don’t have parental figures who were comfortable talking about these subjects with their children or for students who didn’t receive enough education on this topic in school. If you’re scared, you’re not alone. I have had nothing but a positive experience with University Health Services, from UTI testing to STI testing to simple consultations about birth control, the faculty has always been so supportive and they show that to every one of their patients.

Emily Okon

South Carolina '24

Emily is a second-year student studying journalism and the music industry studies at the University of South Carolina! You can usually find her behind a camera or with her nose in a fictional universe. Thursday nights are radio show nights! TuneIn to 90.5 WUSC & HD1 Columbia to listen to your favorite writer be a chaotic mess on a live radio show!