Female condom available at Student Health Center

UA Student Health

What's the best way to clean cuts and scrapes? How can I tell if they are getting infected?



Surprisingly, the technology for wound care hasn't changed and Mom was right! Soap and water are still the best for cleaning boo-boos. Flushing dilutes out skin bacteria and removes particulate matter (dirt).

If a wound is oozing it should be covered to protect clothing and keep dirt from sticking. If a bandage gets wet, change it. Most wounds do best open to the air when they are drying out.

Wounds that get very red, drain thick yellow fluid and/or are getting increasingly painful may be getting infected. Antibacterial creams, ointments, etc. are of limited usefulness and may delay scab formation. Some people have allergic reactions to the antibiotics they contain. Depending on the amount of infection and the part of the body, an antibiotic by mouth may be necessary. If concerned about wound healing or infection see your health care provider.

What's the best method of birth control for preventing STDs?


Abstinence protects against pregnancy and STDs, but I bet that's not what you want to hear!

Latex condoms lubricated with spermicide, when used consistently and correctly, are the most effective method to decrease the transmission of STDs including HIV. No method is 100 percent and the true effectiveness of latex condoms is not known. Condoms in the U.S. are under FDA approval and are electronically tested for holes. Also the breakage rate for U.S. condoms is fairly low (less than two per 100).

Proper use includes:

New condoms for each act of intercourse.

In haste and lust, fingernails


and teeth used to rip open packaging can result in holes.

Put condom on erect penis before any genital contact.

Use water-based lubricants only (no petroleum jelly, massage oil, salad oil, balsamic vinegar).

Vaginal spermicides, sponges and diaphragms may decrease the risk of cervical gonorrhea and chlamydia. Other STDs (herpes, venereal warts and HIV) can be transmitted through the vagina and vulva (external genital area) and these methods offer no protection. The female condom (see next question) may protect against more STDs. No studies have been done to show whether these methods protect men from infected women sorry, guys!

Generally no barrier equals no protection from STDs (birth control pills, hysterectomy or tubal ligation). Birth control pills may decrease the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease by gonorrhea because they decrease menstrual flow and change the cervical mucus.

Is there really a female condom?


Absolutely! The brand name is Reality. It is a soft, polyurethane sheath open at one end. It fits inside the vagina and an outer ring protrudes outside and covers the labia.

Polyurethane doesn't permit viral transmission and is less likely to tear than latex male condoms. Also, because the female condom covers the external genital area, it may protect against more STDs.

The external ring may enhance clitoral sensation however, in some women it covers the clitoris and may decrease sensation.

The female condom is the only birth control method that prevents STDs and is under control of the female partner. It's about time!

Problems with the female condom include pregnancy rates from 12.4 to 26 percent (comparable to the diaphragm). Some people feel the protruding portion is unattractive. The condom also makes a lot of noise with use. This can be lessened with extra lubricant (though some people appreciate any noise and consider it positive feedback).

Female condoms are available at the Student Health Center and Planned Parenthood. The cost is approximately three condoms for one dollar. Like male condoms, they are one time use only.

If you have a question for "Playing Doctor," drop it off at Student Health or the Wildcat. Thank you.

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