Safer Sex and STI Prevention

Birth Control Methods

Birth control is used to prevent pregnancies. For information about the different methods and how they work, check out the links below!

STI Prevention

Condoms and other safer sex supplies are used to provide protection for sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy. Here’s a quick overview of different supplies: 

Find where to get these supplies on campus by checking out our Wellness Map


External condoms: Barriers used on penises or toys that help protect against STIs and prevent pregnancies. Non-latex options available for those with latex allergies or sensitivities.

Internal Condoms: Barriers, typically latex-free, which are inserted into the vagina or anus and help protect against STIs and prevent pregnancies.



Lube helps reduce friction during sexual activities, protects condoms from tearing or breaking, and there are different types for you to choose from based on your preference or activities. 

Water-based Lube: The most common type of lube, water-based is easy clean-up, won’t stain clothes or bedding, and is compatible with all barrier methods and sex toys. There are glycerin-free options for those who have allergies or sensitivities 

Silicone-based Lube: Providing a slicker and longer-lasting option, silicone lubes can be used in the bath or shower. They tend to require a little more clean-up and it’s recommended you don’t used them with silicone toys, as silicone on silicone breaks down. 

Oil-based Lube: Oil-based lubes also tend to be slicker compared to water-based lubes and require less reapplication. Note oil-based lubes break down latex, so they should not be used with latex condoms. 

For more info about what to consider when choosing lubes and other types, check out this video


Dental dams: latex sheets placed on top of the vagina or anus during oral sex to protect against STI’s.

Gloves protection against long nails, protect manicure nails, and can be worn to cover any wounds or new tattoos on hands or fingers. Gloves can be also be used for easy clean-up when using lube 

DIY Dental Dams: Make your own dental dam by taking an external condom, rolling it out, cutting off the tip and the base, finally cutting length-wise until it falls flat into a sheet.

Abstinence: A self-defined practice of not engaging in some or any sexual activities and can be practiced at different points in people’s lives.

Outercourse: A self-defined practice of engaging in some sexual activities such as: dry humping, kissing, masturbation, mutual masturbation, foreplay, and massages.

Prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) is part of sexual health. It’s important to know what STIs are, how’re they transmitted, how to prevent them, and where, when, why to get tested.  For a summary of what sexually transmitted infections are, visit STI Information Guide.

Most STIs are usually asymptomatic, meaning they don’t show symptoms, making it easy for them to go undetected. Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI. San Francisco AID’s foundation recommends getting tested every 3 to 6 months if you’re having sex. 

Here are some places to get tested: 

  • Make an appointment with your physician 

  • Make an appointment with Student Health Services 

If you test positive for an STI, know you’re not alone, about 1 in 5 in the United States have an STI (CDC, 2021). Many can be cured with antibiotics and others can be treated effectively over time. 

1. Be Informed. Talk with a  physician about your STI, medications, and treatment(s) available, and prevention options to protect your health and partner(s)’ health. 


2. Find Support. Don’t feel you have to handle everything on your own. Talk to a trusted person or persons, a therapist, or check local organizations about STI support groups. 

Here are a few resources to get you started:

  • SFAF: HIV & Hepatitis C support groups 

  • Bay Area Friends: Social & support group for those with herpes 

  • The STI Project:  Lists of different HIV, Herpes, HPV, & Hepatitis Support Groups 

3. Have the Talk. Talking about positive test results to past, current, or future sexual partners can be an emotional process. However, to protect your health and your partners’, sharing your positive status is important for you and your partners to discuss and choose which steps are needed for your overall health and well-being.  

For help in starting these conversations, check out Planned Parenthood.

Want to anonymously notify and look for more resources? Try a service that allows you to anonymously notify past partners, hook-ups, etc., if you’ve tested positive or have been exposed to an STI.