Sexual Health Resources
Faithful to its Catholic heritage and in strong support of contemporary Catholic teaching, the University of Notre Dame is dedicated to caring for students and their medical needs without compromise of what the Church upholds in its teachings concerning sexuality and sex.
In keeping with the University’s mission, University Health Services makes every effort to provide all students with caring, non-judgmental, professional assistance and support. While the University calls its unmarried students to practice sexual abstinence, it remains committed to caring for the whole student, providing medical counsel and services to students who are sexually active.
University Health Services also acts in accordance with state and federal laws protecting a student’s right to privacy. All medical services are confidential. A student’s information is safe with us, and we will not share it with anyone outside of the healthcare community without the student’s permission.
Resources related to sexual health are available to all Notre Dame students through University Health Services. Students are encouraged to make an appointment with a provider by calling 574-631-7497. Students with urgent medical needs can be evaluated by a nurse and referred to a provider as needed.
About Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are viruses, bacteria, and parasites transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for acquiring or transmitting an STI. In many cases, though, you can reduce or eliminate your risk by abstaining from sex or using safer sex practices.
What You Can Do
You can abstain from all sexual activity, including vaginal, oral, or anal sex, outside the context of a committed marital relationship.
You can and should get vaccinated against HPV, which can be contracted by both young women and young men, often prior to their initiating wise decisions concerning sexual health.
If you choose to be sexually active, you can reduce your risk of contracting STI’s in the following ways:
- Communicate openly and honestly with your sexual partner about STI testing and sexual history.
- Communicate openly and honestly with your health care provider.
- Consider getting a sexual health exam prior to initiating a sexual relationship.
- Form a committed relationship in which all partners agree to be sexually faithful.
- Refrain from using drugs and alcohol in potentially intimate situations. The use of drugs and alcohol decreases your motor skills, your communication skills, and your capacity for wise judgment, all of which are necessary for full and free consent to having sex and to exercising safer sex practices.
- Use condoms that are labeled for STI protection. Natural skin or animal membrane condoms are not effective for STI protection.
- Get evaluated at least once a year. Include STI testing as part of a regular medical check-up, especially if you have recently changed partners or have had more than one partner in the last year.
- Learn the common symptoms of STIs and seek medical help promptly if any suspicious symptoms develop or if your sexual partner suspects having an STI.
Anyone who is sexually active can get an STI. A list of common STIs and their symptoms can be found here.
Common Sexually Transmitted Infections Most STIs occur without symptoms.
STI testing is available to Notre Dame students through University Health Services. Students may make an appointment with a provider by calling 574-631-7497. Testing varies depending on patient symptoms and behavioral risks.
South Bend Medical Foundation (SBMF), the diagnostic laboratory located in Saint Liam Hall, processes all specimens and can either bill a student’s insurance directly or can make discounted payment arrangements for students who choose to pay in cash.
University Health Services acts in accordance with state and federal laws protecting a student’s right to privacy. All medical services are confidential. A student’s information will not be shared with anyone outside of the healthcare community without the student’s permission.
In addition to testing, University Health Services also provides treatment to students who test positive for an STI. Most STIs do not go away by themselves; many can be cured with medication. Some, including viral STIs, cannot be cured, although medications to decrease symptoms and suppress the virus may be available.
It is important to note that any treatment given to you will be most effective if you:
- Follow instructions in the prescribed manner.
- Avoid sexual contact until you have completed the entire treatment, even if your symptoms disappear before the treatment is complete.
- Notify your current sexual partner (and any previous recent partners) so they can be treated as well.
Access to Medications and Treatments
The University of Notre Dame honors the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. Therefore, University Health Services may prescribe contraceptive medications to treat approved medical conditions, but not to prevent pregnancy.
Healthcare Following a Sexual Assault
University Health Services is equipped to provide confidential and professional medical care to all students, including those who have survived sexual assault. While UHS staff are unable to perform procedures related to the collection of evidence for the purposes of pursuing criminal prosecution, we can provide medical care including wound care, testing, and treatment for STIs, as well as referral and transportation to a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Our staff will also help students understand their options for reporting sexual assault and can provide follow up testing and treatment. We will also refer to counseling when appropriate.
University Health Services can arrange for testing and treatment in the event of a sexual assault without cost if the survivor chooses not to bill his or her health insurance.