Urinary Tract Infections Not all urinary tract infections can be attributed to sexual intercourse, but lots of women find that sex triggers UTIs. To avoid contracting a nasty UTI, drink lots of fluids, wash your nether regions before heterosexual sex, and pee afterward. And if the dreaded symptoms (pain while urinating, cloudy urine) occur, there are always antibiotics (available at your local Student Health) and high-octane cranberry juice (available at your local Trader Joe's).
STDs Fortunately for the sufferers and unfortunately for us connoisseurs of disease, nobody runs around in the advanced throes of syphilis anymore--throes which, in their heyday, ranged from dementia to quasi-leprous nasal collapse. Thanks to modern medicine, most strains of syphilis and chlamydia and gonorrhea can be zapped. But viral diseases, among them HIV (which leads to AIDS and an array of exotic infections), HPV (a quiet specimen associated with cervical cancer), and HSV (also known as herpes), are not so easily mopped up. Your best bets are to use condoms and limit your number of sexual partners. To get yourself tested, treated, and tidy, Seattle offers the following options: Your primary care physician or student health service is a good place to start. Planned Parenthood provides STD testing, including HIV, plus Pap smears. (Their Capitol Hill location is at 2001 E Madison St, 328-7700; their U-District location is at 4500 Ninth Ave NE, Suite 324, 632-2498.) King County's STD clinic (Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Ave, 731-3590) charges on a sliding scale for student budgets. Gay City Health Project and Wellness Center offers free HIV and other STD testing for gay and bisexual men (1513 Broadway Ave, 860-6969). Unwanted Fertilization As you are probably already aware, babies are disgusting. They have neither bowel nor bladder control, they spit up, and they can't take showers on their own. (And you thought your roommate was dirty.) If you're heterosexual and you'd rather not share living quarters with a foul little being, use birth control. To keep you and your heterosexual partner fetus-free, your local pharmacy carries condoms of all ribbings and colors. Most Seattle area pharmacies also dispense Plan B, the emergency contraceptive. (If you've just moved to Washington, rejoice at this state's incomparable access to Plan B--it's available without a doctor's prescription at most pharmacies, which means you'll be able to get it within the critical 72-hour window.) Planned Parenthood offers all the usual baby-banishing birth control methods as well as abortion services. See above for addresses. Being pregnant and going to classes is hard, but certainly not impossible. If you'd like to learn more about placing an infant for adoption, get further information from the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse at naic.acf.hhs.gov or (888) 251-0075. A good local adoption agency for women who want to do adoptions but still have a relationship with their kids--it comes highly recommended--is Open Adoption and Family Services (www.openadopt.com).
Sexual Assault and Rape All that said, there's one situation where cleaning up isn't the best idea--at least not immediately. If you're sexually assaulted, you should resist the natural urge to take a shower or bath until after you've had a forensic medical exam at your nearest emergency room (Harborview's Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, 325 Ninth Ave, 521-1800). This will ensure that if you choose to press charges later on, you'll have the evidence to nail the assailant. There are also things you can do to help protect your self from sexual assault, including keeping your drinks squeaky clean and roofie-free by personally fetching them from bartenders and mixing your own cocktails at parties. If you are sexually assaulted, help is available at the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center 24 hours a day at 888-99-VOICE or www.kcsarc.org.