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Letter: Importance of sexual health

Whether you are just starting at ASU or coming back for another year, it’s always a good time to think about having a healthy sex life. Being smart and responsible about your sexual health is one of the most important things you can do. Your future can look very different if you aren’t thinking about your health and safety today.

1. Use Condoms. Condoms are an essential part of staying healthy and protecting yourself against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, like HIV, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Even if you are using another method of birth control, you need to protect yourself. And, be sure to use them correctly and consistently, so they are more effective.

2. Get tested. If you are sexually active, getting tested for STIs is a basic part of staying healthy and taking control of your sex life. It is one of the most important things you can do and is easier than ever.

Nothing ruins a great relationship like having to tell your partner you have an STI. Awkward! Get tested every six months so you never have to have that awkward conversation. It gives me peace of mind to know that I won’t get someone I care about sick. Getting tested is so easy in 2014. So get a quick and easy STI test and get the peace of mind I have.

3. Know your insurance. Check your insurance status. If your parents are insured, you are likely able to remain on their policy until you are 26 years old, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. If you are getting insurance through school, make sure your policy covers your preferred method of birth control.

4. Know your birth control. The best birth control is one that fits your needs and those needs can change throughout your life. There are lots of convenient and effective choices. Pick a birth control method that fits your life.

5. Know where to go for care. The university health center or off-campus providers, like Planned Parenthood, can be important resources for services and information.

6. Know about sexual assault. One in four college women will be the victim of sexual assault during her academic career. Yet, less than 5 percent of rape cases on college campuses are reported to authorities. Make sure you are aware of the sexual assault policies on campus, as well as what resources are available to you. Here are helpful links for ASU’s policies: or

One last important thing you can do to stay healthy and safe: get involved.

If you want to ensure all of these things continue to be available to students, like us, you can take action and get involved with Planned Parenthood. Being a volunteer has meant a great deal to me because I know I am helping change conversations about sexual health, sex and healthy relationships so they are no longer conversations spoken in a hushed tone, but are open and honest.

To volunteer, or if you are interested in starting a campus group to spread sexual health information and advocate for policies that support an individual right to choose what’s best for them, email for resources on how to start that group.

Sophia Mayberry

Senior, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

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