Sexually transmitted infections, also known as STIs, are infections that pass from one person to another through sexual activities, including oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex, genital contact or sexual fluids like semen. These types of infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites.
When to get tested
It’s a good idea for you and your partner(s) to get tested at least once per year, even if you don’t have any symptoms of an STI. Try to get tested between partners, preferably before you start having oral, anal or vaginal sex.
If you’ve had sex and are worried that you may have been exposed to an STI, it’s important to remember that it can take some time before an STI becomes active in your body. Testing too soon can cause you to get inaccurate results. Instead, follow these guidelines for testing:
- HIV: Get tested after 23 to 90 days
- Chlamydia: Get tested after 5 days to 2 weeks
- Gonorrhea: Get tested after 5 days to 2 weeks
- Syphilis: Get tested after 2 to 3 weeks
If you’re experiencing any symptoms, such as itching, burning or pain, get tested right away.
Testing options at CU
Drop-in testing is available at the lab in Wardenburg Health Center. To participate in drop-in testing, please go to the lab during normal business hours to request any of the tests listed below.
Note: Drop-in testing does not include a visit with a healthcare provider. Payment is required at the time of service and will not be billed to your insurance company.
Drop-in tests available:
- HIV: $28
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea: $80
- Syphilis: $15
Note: For tests that are positive, a nurse will call you to discuss the results and make recommendations for follow-up care and treatment options.
Leading a safe, healthy and satisfying sex life is about more than just preventing sexually transmitted infections. Check out these additional resources to help you practice safer sex and navigate intimate relationships.
Relationship and dating resources
STIs can be a hard topic to bring up or talk about with romantic partners. While it may feel like an awkward subject, it doesn't have to be. Here are some tips to help you start a conversation.
Whether you’re just dipping your toes in the water or looking for a long-term relationship, here are a few relationship hacks everyone should know.
Let's Talk is a free service that allows students to meet informally with a CAPS counselor (no appointments required). Let's Talk counselors can help students work through specific issues and connect with other resources.
Safer sex resources
Vaccines are a great way to protect yourself (and your partners) against sexually transmitted infections caused by certain viruses.
The following vaccines are available at Medical Services:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
Students living in residence halls can order free safer sex supplies online through Buff Boxes. Boxes are discretely delivered to residence hall lobbies and can be picked up using your Buff OneCard.
Free safer sex supplies
All CU Boulder students can stop by Wardenburg Health Center to pick up free safer sex supplies like condoms, dental dams, lube and more.
- Health Promotion: Wellness Suite, Room 331
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Office: Wardenburg Health Center by the check-in area
HIV and AIDS resources
The Boulder County AIDS Project (BCAP) offers free, confidential HIV testing at their office in Boulder an in various locations in the community.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
Medical Services offers Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention. This is a great option for students who may be at higher risk of contracting HIV. If you are interested in PrEP counseling, prescription initiation and ongoing maintenance, please call 303-492-5432.
Intravenous drug users are at a higher risk for HIV. Boulder County Public Health’s Works Program is a non-judgmental substance use harm reduction program that provides free injection supplies, syringe disposal, overdose prevention materials, referrals and more.
Community members are welcome to stop by any of their locations to pick up free supplies.