Carnegie Mellon University
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made changes to maintain the safest environment possible for patient care. All services are being delivered by appointment only. Please call us at 412-268-2157 to discuss your needs.

Sexual Healthcare at UHS

Taking care of your physical sexual health involves personal hygiene practices and getting a check-up by a health care provider. UHS offers many confidential services to support your sexual health.

All straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, single, partnered and polyamorous individuals should have an annual health exam.

Gynecological Exam

Sexually active individuals 21 years of age or older with female reproductive organs should also have an annual gynecological exam. Gynecology is health care for the female reproductive system.

A pelvic exam is a normal and important part of taking care of your body. During a pelvic exam, a health care provider checks your pelvic area for problems. There are usually three parts to the exam:

  1. The Visual Exam - Your health care provider will look at your vulva and the opening of your vagina.
  2. The Speculum Exam - Your provider will gently insert a speculum into your vagina. A speculum is a metal or plastic tool that separates the walls of the vagina when it opens. This may feel uncomfortable but not painful. Let your provider know if it is.

    Your provider will determine if you should have a Pap test done. During a Pap test, the provider takes a small sample of cells from your cervix for the Pap test. At this time, a sample may also be taken to test for sexually transmitted infections.
  3. The Bimanual Exam - Your provider will insert one or two gloved fingers into your vagina while gently pressing on your lower abdomen with the other hand. This is a way to check your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
This is a test that can find signs that cervical cancer may develop. Providers use a tiny brush or spatula to collect a small sample of cells from your cervix (the lower part of your uterus). The cells are sent to a laboratory to be examined. The Pap test is a painless procedure that takes less than a minute and is one part of a gynecological exam.
Gynecological visits take about one hour. Extra time is needed to complete paperwork, prepare you for the exam and answer your questions. Your health care provider will talk with you for 10-15 minutes and the exam itself takes 10-15 minutes, including a five-minute pelvic exam.
No. You may feel some pressure but you should not feel pain. If you feel pain, tell the health care provider.
  • Plan your pelvic exam for a day you when you will not have your period.
  • Do not have vaginal intercourse or insert anything into your vagina for a day or two before your visit.
  • Women should not douche. But if you do, do not douche or use any other vaginal products for at least 24 hours before your visit.
  • Make a list of the questions you want to ask and be prepared to discuss your gynecological and sexual health history.

Pregnancy & Birth Control

Whether you want to prevent pregnancy, consider pregnancy, or learn about what options you have for an unplanned pregnancy, UHS is here to help.

Preventing Pregnancy

UHS offers many safe and effective birth control choices, including birth control pills, patches and rings, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants. We recommend learning about all of your options. Check out Bedsider and Planned Parenthood's Birth Control Effectiveness Chart and My Method, tools to help you decide which method could be best for you.

There are three types of Emergency Contraception (EC), and the most effective type depends on timing of unprotected sex and your weight.

  • Plan B works up to three days after unprotected sex and is most effective if you weigh less than 165 pounds.
  • Ella works up to five days after unprotected sex and is most effective if you weigh less than 195 pounds.
  • Paragard IUD works up to five days after unprotected sex and is effective across all weight ranges. 

Emergency Contraception at UHS: UHS also offers EC, which works best the sooner it's taken, but can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex. Either partner can get EC at UHS, without an appointment. To request EC from UHS login to HealthConnect--> select messages-->new message--> emergency contraception request. ECP works best when taken as early as possible.  If you are requesting this medication when UHS is closed, there will be a delay in processing the request.  When we are open, we do our best to have your medication ready by end of day if possible.  If you do not want to wait to take the medication, please go to a local pharmacy to purchase generic Plan B.  

If you are not sure what your best option is or want to schedule an appointment to discuss this medication or other birth control options, please call us: 412-268-2157, option 2.

Unplanned Pregnancy

UHS staff are available to listen and answer questions in a supportive, non-judgmental and confidential manner. If you are pregnant, there are three options available. UHS can provide information and referrals for any option you choose:

  1. You can continue your pregnancy and plan to raise your child. For information and resouces on prenatal care contact University Health Services.
  2. You can can continue your pregnancy and plan to place your child for adoption. For information and resouces on adoption contact University Health Services.
  3. You can end your pregnancy by having an abortion. For more information about abortion options and to find local abortion providers visit
    1. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are often confused as an abortion resource, but do not provide abortions and may discourage patients from ending a pregnancy. They may also be called something other than a Crisis Pregnancy Center. For more information on the difference between these facilities and abortion providers, visit here. This resource provides information on the locations of crisis pregnancy centers.   
    2. Full coverage is provided for abortion services (facility and professional) through the Highmark Student Health Insurance Plan

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers a comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions on Pregnancy Choices.


Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are very common. By age 25, about half of all sexually active young people will get one. STIs often show no symptoms, so many people who have one don't know it. The only way to know if you or a partner have an STI is to get tested and knowing helps you protect each other.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily HIV prevention treatment for people who have multiple sexual partners. PrEP is available at UHS and is covered by CMU SHIP, our student health insurance plan. Those with outside insurane should check to find out if PrEP is covered and what costs might apply. Students can make appointments to start or continue PrEP by calling 412-268-2157 (select option 2). 

If you are currently sexually active, have a new sexual partner or multiple sexual partners, have had an STI in the past, have had unprotected sex, and/or share injection needles, you should be tested for STIs.

Chlamydia: urine sample and/or rectal swab

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): blood sample or oral swab

Gonorrhea: urine sample, rectal swab and/or throat swab

Syphilis: blood sample 

Most often, STIs do not show any symptoms.  Symptoms can include:
  • Growth, blister or sore on genital area
  • Abnormal discharge from penis or vagina
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Fever, fatigue, chills, cough
  • Rash
  • Swollen glands in the groin area
  • Rectal itching, bleeding, tenderness, or pain with passing stool
  • Swollen testicles or vulva
  • Sore throat

This list is not all-inclusive. Please schedule an appointment at UHS to talk about any symptoms that concern you.
Abstain from sexual activity with any partner until you are examined. Schedule an appointment for a physical exam at University Health Services.

Abstain from sexual activity with any partner until you are examined. Schedule an appointment for a physical exam at University Health Services.

University Health Services offers expedited partner therapy for chlamydia infection. That means that you or your partner can receive treatment quickly if either of you has been diagnosed with chlamydia. 

There are many effective options [pdf] for preventing pregnancy.

Any form of hormonal contraception (birth control), should be used with a barrier (condom, etc.) 100% of the time for the best protection against STIs.

Many birth control methods are available at UHS. Schedule an appointment with us to talk about birth control options.

UHS offers emergency contraception, sometimes called Plan B or “The Morning after Pill." This can be taken by females up to five days after unprotected sex, but is most effective if taken within the first three days. 

Any student can get emergency contraception at UHS without an appointment. Stop by our office and check in at the kiosk in the waiting room to see a nurse who can assist you.

This medicine is also available over-the-counter at local pharmacies.