FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Sexual Health!! Read All About It!

There is a lot of information out there about sex, sexual health and pleasure. But how do you know which resources to trust? Wonder no more! Below is a list of resources that contain excellent, reputable information:

Go Ask Alice!

Go Ask Alice! is a great health resource that is maintained by health educators at Columbia University. The website is set up in a Q & A format and it covers a variety of health topics including emotional health, sexual health and relationships.

Sex Etc.

Sex Etc. is a great website hosted by Rutgers University. All the staff writers for the website are students so it is sex education for students, by students! The website is fun and interactive and once a week, the site hosts chats with a health educator so you can ask questions and get an accurate answers immediately.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has been providing accurate sexual health information for a long time and they are still one of the best resources on the web. Their website has information on just about any sexual health topic you can think of including body image, gender and emergency contraception.

Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World

This website offers a lot of information about sexual health, but they also have a blog and “sexpert” advice. The website has also started building a database to connect young people to services like counselors and clinics. Check it out!

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Group Fitness with Campus Recreation – Absolution

This blog post was written by Emily Wheeler and is published as part of our blog exchange with Tar Heel Tone-Up.

Since the year is new, we’re going back to the basics and introducing some of the opportunities offered by Campus Recreation. We know we’ve written about them before, but we also know that they get buried in the archives of articles every year, so we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to learn about opportunities and get involved!

One of the coolest things that Campus Rec has to offer students is a huge variety of FREE group fitness classes every week! These classes are taught by trained fitness instructors who are students, just like you. They take place in the fitness studios in Ram’s Head Recreation Center and the Student Recreation Center, as well as select classes in Woolen gym and Bowman Gray pool.

Cute Couple - Fitness Instructor and Weightlifter
Photo: “Cute Couple – Fitness Instructor and Weightlifter” by DigiNik13, Flickr Creative Commons.

Course offerings include:

  • Pilates
  • Cycle
  • Step
  • Barre
  • Absolution
  • Zumba
  • Cardio Blast
  • Lower Body Conditioning
  • Yoga
  • Muscle Cut Barbells
  • Kick’n Sculpt
  • Muscle Cut
  • Upper Body Conditioning
  • Tai Chi
  • H2O Dance
  • Mindful Yoga
  • KickHIIT (HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Power Yoga
  • Cardio Dance
  • Kickboxing
  • 3-2-1
  • Water Aerobics

As you can see, there are a ton of options available, so you can choose what interests you! Some classes have varying levels of difficulty: for example, power yoga is more difficult than mindful yoga, and Cycle classes and Kick’n Sculpt are extremely heavy on the cardio intensity. However, all classes are open to people of all levels of fitness. You are not required to complete every move or exercise and there are always modifications to make each exercise easier or more difficult.

I’ll feature some brief reviews of various classes in coming articles as the semester gets off to a fast start! For starters, I’ll review the shortest, but quite possibly the most intense, class we offer: Absolution.

Absolution:

This class might only last for 15-20 minutes, but your core will be absolutely on fire the entire time! The exercises are organized by songs; for example, for the first song, the focus might be on plank exercises. For the second, it might be on different types of crunches. The plank song always gets to me! You stay up in plank position for the entire 4 minutes of the song and do variations such as “thread the needle,” side plank, and hip dips side to side. I really like planks because they work your entire core, which includes your oblique (sides) and back muscles!

When we say “core muscles,” we often just think of our stomachs and abs, but a strong core is supported both by strong abdominal and back muscles to support proper posture. I always think it’s crazy to consider that the gap in your skeleton between your rib cage and your hip bones consists only of your spine, yet this part of our bodies is comprised of so many important organs and we rely on a strong canister of muscle to hold it all together and upright. The human body is incredible, people… treat yours nicely.

They love to use this one movement where you’re balancing on your bum with your feet and torso up off of the ground and you pulse your hands up and down beside your knees. This one has me shaking in a matter of seconds and one song of the class makes sure to include that movement in the sequence at least 6 times. The last song is almost always dedicated to the back muscles, so we all flop over on our stomachs like the limp fish we resemble and do “Superman” raises until the song, and the class, mercifully ends with a collective exhale accompanied by a flop of exhausted limbs hitting the gym floor.

If you don’t believe me, check out Absolution at any of these times to experience the burn for yourself!

Monday:

1:05 – 1:20 in Woolen B19

6:10 – 6:30 in SRC Studio A

Tuesday:

1:05 – 1:20 in SRC Studio B

6:25 – 6:45 in SRC Studio A

Wednesday:

6:10 – 6:30 in SRC Studio A

Thursday:

1:05 – 1:20 in SRC Studio B

6:25 – 6:45 in SRC Studio A

Saturday:

5:00 – 5:20 in SRC Studio B

This is an absolutely killer core workout and one of my favorite group fitness classes offered by Campus Rec! You will leave both exhausted and proud of your body! It also is short enough that you can conveniently combine it with your own cardio workout by running to the gym and back! Keep checking back for more group fitness reviews and information!

So HOW does student health insurance actually work?!

Healthcare and health insurance can be complicated. For many students, college can be the first time they are confronted with how insurance actually works. In this post, we’ll set up the basics around health insurance and review some key terms.

Affordable Ohio Health Insurance
Photo: “Ohio Health Insurance” by Affordable Ohio Health Insurance, Flickr Creative Commons.

How health insurance works

Simply put, health insurance companies pay for some or all of the cost of medical expenses. Exactly how much health insurance pays towards healthcare costs depends on:

  • the insurance plan;
  • the type of visit or procedure; and
  • the provider (e.g., whether or not the provider is in the health insurances’ “network”).

You can get health insurance in a variety of ways:

  • individual health insurance (example: enrolling through a state’s Exchange or Affordable Care Act program)
  • employer insurance (example: entity you work for providers insurance), or
  • student insurance (example: UNC provides an option for students to enroll in a student health care plan).

Breaking down health insurance terms

  • Premium: In essence, this is the price of admission, or what you regularly pay to have your insurance plan (for example: X dollars a month).
  • Co-payment (“co-pay”): An amount of the visit/procedure you pay up-front (for example: paying $20 for a doctor’s visit).
  • Co-insurance: A percentage of a bill the patient is required to pay, after accounting for co-payments, deductibles, and any other discounts.
  • Coverage: The amount the health insurance company pays for each procedure, service or visit. This depends on the health plan, and might be a percentage (for example: 60% of the cost), or may be a fixed amount for certain procedures (for example: will cover 100% of preventative care services). Usually, you can find some basic information on coverage on your insurance card.
  • In-network/ Out-of-network: Insurance companies will have lists of providers that accept their specific insurance brand (“in-network”). This is akin to businesses accepting certain kinds of payment methods: one might take Visa, Mastercard and American Express; while another might only Visa (“out of network” for American Express and Mastercard). How do you find out which providers are in vs. out of network? Health insurance companies usually provide a directory/listing of in-network providers (see below for tips on finding out more about your plan). Or, if you have a specific provider in mind, you can contact them to ask what types of health insurance they accept. Learn whether your insurance is in-network at Campus Health Services here.
  • Explanation of benefits: This is a break-down of the total costs
  • Deductibles: This is a set amount you have to pay each year in medical bills before the health insurance company starts paying. So, for example, if your plan’s deductible is $300, then you have to spend $300 before your health insurance kicks in and starts paying for medical costs. Note that as a general rule, the higher your premium (the cost to have insurance), the lower your deductible.
maze
Photo: “Maze” by Jay, Flickr Creative Commons.

Maximizing your insurance

 

Insurance plans vary considerably in what they cover, and can be worthwhile to what extent insurance plans cover various visits and procedures. If you are concerned about coverage, cost or confidentiality (if you’re on a shared plan with others), you can contact insurance companies before you visit a provider. To do this:

  • First, check your insurance card, which will usually have information on co-insurance, deductibles, prescription drug coverage, and emergency coverage.
  • For more detailed information, you can often look online to see what your specific plan covers. Many insurance plans have an option to create online accounts, where you can access information on specific plan benefits, and look for “in-network” providers.
  • You can also call the insurance company to inquire about coverage for a specific procedure, visit or prescription drug coverage. The contact information is usually on the card.

Additionally, for UNC Students: more information on UNC’s student health insurance policy, and in-network insurance providers at UNC Campus Health Services can be found on the UNC Campus Health Services website.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: 8 Dimensions of Wellness Portrayed by Animals!

UNC Student Wellness believes that student and community health choices involve the integration of eight dimensions of wellness. To illustrate these dimensions, the staff at Student Wellness looked to our pets to bring you examples of how they embody each dimension of wellness.

 

  1. Cultural wellness. Pictured: Mary’s cats Buffy and Giles helping to create a safe, inclusive space for LGBTQ beings of all species.
    Cultural Wellness
  2. Emotional wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea liking (and licking) what she sees in the mirror, demonstrating her fabulous body image and self-acceptance.
    Emotional Wellness
  3. Physical wellness. Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ getting her jump/fly/swim on at Uwharrie National Forest. Pictured: two litters of puppies napping together for their physical wellness.
    Physical Wellness Physical Wellness 2
  4. Environmental wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea out for a fun day of sailing on Jordan Lake. Here, she’s taking in the splendor of the lake and thinking very thoughtfully about air quality. Pictured: Kelli’s former foster dog Kori rolling around in the grass to scratch her back.
    animals5 animals6
  5. Intellectual wellness. Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ demonstrating an important part of intellectual wellness: sometimes you need a study break! Pictured: Mary’s cat Giles learning how to play a new game and demonstrating that intellectual wellness can be fun and social!  Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ catching up on this week’s biggest news stories.
    animals7 animals8 animals9
  6. Financial wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea managing her personal finances; setting finance goals for the upcoming year.
    animals10
  7. Social wellness. Pictured: Part of social wellness is also knowing when not to be social by finding time for yourself. Here is Brittany’s cat Noble in a box, finding some time and space to be alone. Or nap. Both are important for maintaining social wellness. Pictured: Mary’s cats Buffy and Giles spending time together and bonding over looking at some birds outside. Pictured: Natalie’s adopted kittens demonstrating some solid peer support — an essential component of social wellness.
    animals12 animals11 animals13 Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 5.35.36 PM
  8. Spiritual wellness. Pictured: This is Brittany’s cat Barnes. He like to take time for self reflection every day.  Usually while using his tail as a pillow.  Pictured: Pedro, a recently adopted dog with Triangle Beagle Rescue, looks up at the heavens and smiles.
    animals15 animals16

This blog was originally posted on November 18, 2014, and was written by the Student Wellness staff! 

 

GET INVOLVED: Access free services & get free stuff!

By now, many of you may have discovered one of the greatest joys of a college campus — FREE STUFF — but you may not know that Student Wellness offers a lot more than the free frisbees some of you snagged at Orientation or the water bottles you picked up at us from Fall Fest. We also offer free programs and services to all students!

Below is an overview of some of the things we’re planning on offering this semester!

sexual health

Do you have questions about:

  • Contraceptive options?
  • HIV testing and counseling?
  • Well Women’s Exams?
  • Post-diagnosis STI management questions?
  • Pretty much anything relating to sexual health?

Well, no worries! Just call Student Wellness at 919.962.WELL and schedule a FREE, private* appointment to meet with a trained health educator today!

fall pass 2014 flier

PASS (Peak Academic Success & Satisfaction) Fair: A chance to relax and have fun right before Final Exams

  • Free catered food (Past vendors include Vimala’s and Jersey Mike’s)
  • Massages from Aveda
  • Board games & Wii Fit
  • Yoga station
  • Free scantrons & blue books
  • So much free stuff!

Stay tuned for more information on PASS, which will take place during exam week this semester!

HeelfestLogoColor_HR

LDOC HeelFest: Celebrate the last day of classes with Battle of the Bands-style show. Support local groups and your friends, vote for the winner of a grand prize, and get FREE FOOD!

Stay tuned for more information and ways to get VIP passes to the event (which will be on LDOC Spring semester!), which gets you even more free stuff! Want to be a student judge at the event? More information will be available soon.

 

WAD 2014 flyer

World AIDS Day: A large-scale free HIV testing/screening event

In honor of World AIDS Day, UNC Student Wellness will be organizing a free, confidential, walk-in HIV testing event in the Carolina Union Great Hall. This event is free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. Participants can get their results in under one hour, and there are no needles involved!

Stay tuned for more information on World AIDS Day (which will be in December)!

 

GET INVOLVED: Join a student group!

Now that the move-in, orientation, and FallFest dust has (somewhat) settled, you may be asking yourself some questions: What the heck is Sakai? Did I just subscribe to more listservs than any human person should ever subscribe to? Why do we already have homework? And perhaps, more broadly: how will I spend my remaining years at UNC and make my mark on this campus?

If you’ve been asking yourself this last question — and are interested in the health and wellness of yourself and your fellow students — Student Wellness offers several opportunities for you to get involved in the work that we do!

dice

Diversity & Inclusiveness in a College Environment (DICE):

  • DICE aims to create greater diversity awareness and programming around inclusiveness for students at UNC.
  • Join if you want to…
    • Create a strong media campaign for diversity and inclusiveness
    • Engage students’ awareness of issues such as race, class, ability, privilege, etc.
    • Integrate various campus departments and offices to identify student perspectives on diversity and promote involvement in diversity issues on campus
    • Support and encourage diversity and effect a more inclusive environment
  • For more information, e-mail studentwellness@unc.edu

 

Picture1

Healthy Heels Ambassadors

  • HHA is a group of peer educators that raise awareness, educate, and offer supportive resources to empower students to make healthier choices that improves the collective health of the UNC-CH community.
  • Join if you want to…
    • Gain leadership experience
    • Make a meaningful difference on campus
    • Possibility of opportunities to visit professional conferences
    • Develop an area of expertise
    • Become a mentor
    • HAVE FUN!
  • For more information, e-mail studentwellness@unc.edu

 

itc

Interactive Theatre Carolina (ITC)

  • ITC uses the tools of theatre to talk about difficult issues around health, wellness, and equity.
  • Join if you want to…
    • Learn about and engage in conversations about JUSTICE and HEALTH!
    • Perform and EDUCATE THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS annually!
    • BUILD YOUR ACTING RESUME with new theatre trainings (Theatre of the Oppressed, Forum Theatre, Image Theatre), character work, and improv)!
  • For more information, e-mail ITC@unc.edu

one act

One Act

  • One Act’s student organization seeks to further the mission of One Act skills trainings through encouraging bystander intervention to prevent violence. One Act and One Act for Greeks skills trainings teach Carolina students the knowledge, skills, and confidence to recognize the early warning signs of violence and take preventive action in your everyday life.
  • Join if you want to…
    • Plan violence prevention events throughout the year
    • Connect with other students invested in violence prevention
    • Discuss ways to safely intervene in problematic situations
    • Gain knowledge of campus prevention and response resources
    • Contribute to a safer campus environment
  • For more information, e-mail OneAct@unc.edu

recovery

Carolina Recovery Community

  • Our goal is to enable our students to enjoy a normal substance-free collegiate experience while excelling at UNC-CH. 
  • Join if you want to…
    • Do fun stuff– like ropes courses, hiking, sober tailgates, and more
    • Gain recovery, academic resources, and other support services
    • Develop a sense of community with other students in recovery
    • Find a Mentor
    • Get involved with the Carolina Recovery Group
  • For more information, e-mail carolinarecovery@unc.edu

sister talk

Sister Talk

  • Sister Talk is a group for women of color who would like to discuss any relational, transitional change that is impacting their ability to successfully be the best they can be. 
  • Join if…
    • You are a woman of color
    • You are interested in discussing relationships, self-care, work/life balance, academic success, managing stress, and self-image, among other topics!
  • For more information, e-mail studentwellness@unc.edu

men's project

UNC Men’s Project

  • We seek to create opportunities for male-identified students to increase men’s involvement in gender equity and violence prevention efforts. 
  • Consider applying if you want to…
    • Connect with a network of male-identified individuals interested in talking about masculinity and promoting positive masculinities
    • Gain leadership skills
    • Learn about the impact of masculinity on ourselves and our society
    • Explore your own story
    • Become a trained ally and peer educator
    • Use social media to help create awareness on campus
  • For more information, e-mail UNCMensProject@gmail.com

 

Stay tuned for more ways you can get involved with Student Wellness this year, including attending a training and making an appointment!

3 Things We Learned from One Act Participants

Bystander intervention is considered a promising practice for preventing sexual violence on college campuses. UNC-CH first implemented bystander intervention in fall 2010 with our first One Act training, and have been growing the program since then, training over 2130+ students in One Act or One Act for Greeks since its inception.

Because of our commitment to implementing programs using the best available evidence possible, Student Wellness staff collect data about the effectiveness of One Act bystander intervention to make sure that what we’re doing is working! We’re delighted to share that data from the first two years of the program that we’ve previously shared here on the blog was published in the May 2015 issue of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

So what else have we learned?

  1. About one quarter of students attending One Act trainings (excludes One Act for Greeks*) in 2012-2015 identify that they have experienced sexual violence, interpersonal violence, or stalking in their lifetime.
  2. On average, 85% of One Act participants (excludes One Act for Greeks) in 2012-2015 know someone who has experienced sexual violence, interpersonal violence, or stalking.
  3. 100% of participants in both One Act and One Act for Greeks during the 2014-2015 academic year who completed our 1 – week post-test said that they are likely or very likely to intervene if a friend says that forcing someone to have sex is okay.

*due to time limits, anonymous clickers are not used in One Act for Greeks

Read FAQ’s about our research here.

Infographic
Created by Kelli Raker via piktochart

Take a Break! Hey, Take 10

Tar Heels, if you’re still hanging around the general vicinity of North Carolina this summer, you don’t need me to tell you it’s hot, but…OMG it’s sooooo hot! If you’re anything like me, a long string of hot days might make you complain a lot and think less clearly than you might otherwise.

Also, while the pictures on my Facebook feed tell me that this is vacation time for a lot of people…it might not feel like vacation time for all of us. Yes, NECESSITY, as well as our culture that socializes us to ideals of BUSY! and ACHIEVEMENTS!, can chase us down even into these summer months.

So, please allow me to be your Captain Obvious right now and give you a loving reminder:

Here is a comfy pink chair in the forest a person might sit in if they were taking a break.
Here is a comfy pink chair in the forest a person might sit in if they were taking a break.

Take a break.

Take a break! There are many ways to take a break today, this week, this month, this summer, even if you’re jamming out in Summer Session II and can’t afford a beach condo for the next decade. Here are some ideas to get your creative break-making juices flowing:

  1. Finish reading this blog post and then turn off whatever screen you’re looking at for at least 5 minutes. Feeling brave? Do it in silence. Feeling tense? Think about relaxing each part of your body, starting with the toes and working your way up. It’s just 5 minutes. You can do it. Too easy? Make a summer resolution to do this every day and see what happens.
  2. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time and catch up.
  3. Commit to listening to an entire album you haven’t heard ever or haven’t heard in a long time. Do it in one sitting. Invite some buddies over for a listening party.
  4. Find a path you’ve never walked and walk it. (If you’re in Chapel Hill, consider these!) Find some flowers and sniff them.
  5. Take a social media hiatus. Y’all. I haven’t been on Facebook for 3 days and I feel like a new person right now.
  6. Drink some water. It’s hot.
  7. Do something you haven’t done since you were a kid. Is there a swing set at your apartment complex? Can you get your hands on a pool noodle? Are there old board games for sale at PTA Thrift Shop? Where are those crayons your roommate was waving around? Can you YouTube your favorite old cartoon?
  8. Plan a day trip to a swimming hole or a waterfall.
  9. Cook something for dinner tonight that you’ve never cooked before. Never cooked at all? Then this assignment has NO LIMITS!
  10. Read a book…for fun. When was the last time you read a book for fun??

Other ideas? Do share in the comments!

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Tips for a Healthy Hike

This blog post was written by Ben Smart and is published as part of our blog exchange with Tar Heel Tone-Up.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 3.51.25 PM

Sedona, Arizona

Fresh air, breathtaking views, and space to explore – these are just a few of the tangible reasons to enjoy an outdoor hike. Engaging your mind and body with a short excursion could also yield health benefits extending beyond physical exercise. Research with nearly 2,000 participants in England found that walking outdoors in a group delivered a significant mood boost as well as lower perceived stress and depression, especially for those experiencing stress from a traumatic life event.

Before lacing up your boots and heading to the trail, take the time to pack and prepare the right way. We’ve compiled a few tips to make your next hike the healthiest to date.

Let’s start with your pack. If your filled backpack weighs more than a few pounds, it’s a good idea to select an ergonomic pack with waist strap capabilities, which will take the bulk of the weight off of your back and distribute it to your torso. When wearing the backpack, adjust the shoulder straps first so that the backpack fits comfortably on your shoulders, and then fasten the waist strap.

Now that your backpack is up to par, let’s examine the contents. Take everything out of your backpack and lay in on a table. Are you bringing any unnecessary items? Think twice before packing the second tube of toothpaste or the heavy binoculars. Ensure that you’ve packed a conservative first aid kit, and one or two plastic bags; these can really come in handy.

The most important part (and my favorite aspect) of hiking is food and hydration. Fill a stainless steel bottle (or two) full of water for the trek. Metal is preferred over plastic, as many plastic bottles can leach small amount of toxic BPA or other chemicals into your water, which means you’ll be drinking those chemicals.

As for snacks, aim for balanced portions. If you’re only hiking 1-3 miles, high protein and low carbohydrate food can be sufficient fuel. Three ideas:

  • Turkey sandwich with spinach and cheese, accompanied with a side of almonds
  • Tuna and high-fiber crackers, completed with an apple and peanut butter
  • Salmon and a whole grain tortilla, topped off with a banana and cheese

Once you’re hiking, remember to make smart choices. Take your trash to go, don’t litter. Watch your step, and adopt a wide stance when scaling steep trails. Finally, look up from the cell phone and enjoy the view! If you keep your eyes peeled, you’re sure to find some wildlife.

Ready to take a weekend hike? Check out UNC Campus Recreation’s outdoor expedition schedule here for events this summer.

Follow UNC Campus Recreation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and be the FIRST to know what’s happening here at UNC Campus Rec!

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Condom effectiveness: What’s brand name got to do with it?

This blog was originally posted on April 25, 2012 and was written by Diana Sanchez.

Condoms are one of the most commonly used contraceptive/STD prevention products used worldwide. The United Nations Population Fund estimated that over 10 billion condoms were used in 2005.  Here on campus, Campus Health Services provides thousands of condoms to students each year.

As a sexual health counselor, I have noticed that many people’s preferences for certain condom brands are based (almost entirely) on their perception of that condom brand’s effectiveness. We offer a variety of condom brands for free to students through Campus Health Services. Occasionally, when people check out the condoms we have available, they’ll ask: “are those safe to use?”, and “don’t those break more than [other condom brand]?”.

So, do some condoms in fact perform better than others in terms of STD/pregnancy prevention?

The answer is no, not really. Condoms are regarded by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as “Class II medical devices”, a designation that includes pregnancy tests and powered wheelchairs.  Products in this category have to meet special labeling requirements and performance standards. For condoms, the FDA standards include systematic “water leak” tests to ensure that no fluid can leak out of the condoms. To meet standards, all condoms must have at least 996 out of 1,000 condoms, on average, pass this test. This means that FDA-approved condoms must be at least 99.6% effective in laboratory tests to be available to consumers.

In a 2004 publication, Walsh and colleagues used condom use data from trials of three bands of condoms, including Trojan, LifeStyles and Ramses – all of which are FDA-approved condom brands. Out of 3,677 condom-protected sex acts analyzed in the study, the authors found that 55 condom acts failed, either due to breaking (16 condoms broke; break rate = 0.04%) or slipping (39 condoms slipped; slip rate = 1%). The likelihood of condoms breaking during sex was not statistically associated with condom brand.

FDA-approved condoms are all quite effective at preventing pregnancy and STD, and performance is probably not related to brand type. You might be wondering if the condoms you’re using are FDA-approved. With the exception of novelty condoms (which are pretty uncommon), just about all of the condoms you’ll come across in the United States are approved by the FDA.  All the condoms we provide through Campus Health Services are FDA-approved, and same goes for places like Planned Parenthood and local STD/HIV clinics. If you’d like to be certain, you can check the condom packet to look for wording about STD and pregnancy prevention. If it’s on the packet, those condoms meet federal regulations for quality and safety.

Check out the following pictures to see how we’ve looked for this language on some condoms we provide at Campus Health Services:

If you can’t find language about STD/HIV prevention on condom packaging, then it’s not FDA approved.
If you can’t find language about STD/HIV prevention on condom packaging, then it’s not FDA approved for STD/HIV and pregnancy prevention.

All of this said, although condoms must be at least 99.6% effective in safety trials, testing conditions do not necessarily mean 99.6% real-life effectiveness for any condom brand. But here’s the good news:  there’s a lot you can do to increase the effectiveness of condoms. One of the biggest challenges to condom effectiveness is correct use.  Some of the most common errors with condom use are: using the wrong lubricant (water-based, NOT oil-based, lubricants should be used with condoms); incorrect storage (ie, storing a condom in a hot place, like a glove compartment, or in a place with lots of friction, like a wallet or pocket); and not checking the expiration date.