Safe sex in Amsterdam
By SHUZHAO XUE | April 20, 2019
Illustration by Flo McQuibban / The Amsterdammer
Nowadays, sex plays an increasingly important role in our leisure time. No-strings-attached (NSA) sex is becoming a common option, especially for sex lovers. More than 1 billion matches on Tinder make a date per week, which can lead to a significant amount of exercise in bed.
Dating can be fun, but safety is more important. According to the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (known as RIVM), 18.4% of Sexual Health Center visitors in 2017 were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STI). Among these, chlamydia is the most frequently diagnosed, with over 20,000 diagnoses per year. HIV infections increase by more than 1,000 annually. The numbers are cold and so are the diseases.
Sure, textbooks and sex ed are way more boring than swiping right. But safety must always come before fun. Now, for you, affordable ways to have safe sex in Amsterdam are available!
Amsterdam is a city where people enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Clubs, bars and even saunas are spread all around the city for a sweet night, regardless of your sexuality. However, you should always be sure to have a condom in your pocket in case of possible unexpected (or expected!) events. Although there are multiple contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancy, condoms remain the best way to avoid STIs. Large consumption of condoms can sometimes bear a financial burden. In liberal Amsterdam, there are always spots where cheap and reliable condoms are available.
As a UvA student and/or an Amsterdammer, you are allowed to register in the UvA Student Medical Service. The jar at the entrance might catch your attention, where free condoms are available!
Condomerie is well known as the world’s first condom speciality shop. On its online store, you can buy 144 condoms for 14 euros or so. It sounds cheap, but they are a reliable store, and are endorsed by GGD Amsterdam (also known as the Public Health Service of Amsterdam city).
Condoms are no longer exclusively for men. Girls, go to Condomerie and grab some female condoms to protect yourself!
Make sure the condom has a CE mark, which means it conforms with EU health and safety directives.
PrEP & PEP
In order to reduce the possibility of being infected by HIV, in addition to the usage of condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a new method.
The first step of getting PrEP is to consult with your General Practitioner. Normally a test is required before you get it. Low budget? No worries! Prices vary from 30 euros to hundreds for a monthly dose. As long as you are qualified, you can choose from a variety of brands and decide on the price range that suits you best. Remember to take the pill daily and still use condoms during sex.
PrEP is an effective way of preventing HIV. Condoms are the only way to keep you from STIs.
Sex needs to be mutual and consensual in order to be enjoyed. But sometimes, unfortunately, someone can be forced into high-risk intercourse. In this situation, do not hesitate to get PEP from GGD Amsterdam or the Accident and Emergency departments of hospitals in Amsterdam within 72 hours to prevent HIV within. With Dutch health insurance, PEP is reimbursed. For international students, check out your insurance policy.
Getting checked regularly is always a good idea health-wise, even if you feel dynamic and clean. It is also needed for people in a stable or exclusive relationship. A simple regular check can make you more attractive, not only because you take care of your health, but because you care for your partner as well. In Amsterdam, you can get an STI test easily as a student in the following places.
1. GGD Amsterdam
note: it will soon be renovated, please check before you go.
Make an appointment online and get your questions answered in advance. At the moment you can choose to get a quick test so that you can know the results in an hour; or, a combo test is available for someone with a busy schedule. You will have to do it on your own and wait for the results online. The result will be available usually within 2 working days. Because of budget, GGD Amsterdam only provides free STI tests for the young (under 24 years old) as well as people who are at an increased risk such as: gay men, sex workers, etc.
2. AHF Checkpoint
Are you not qualified? Do you not want to make a reservation? Then just walk into AHF Checkpoint. You might feel confused when arriving because what stands in front of you is the Kilo Store. Go inside and go upstairs, there you are! Its location and service will definitely make you feel safe. The test is conducted anonymously and results are available in one minute. But please be aware it only provides an HIV test and opens from 13:00 to 19:00 on Monday and Thursday to Saturday. Plus, free condoms are also provided here!
3. Your General Practitioner
If you are considering getting a consultation concerning STIs, you can go to your GP and receive an STI check. The price varies depending on the test. Fewer tests, are less expensive. But normally, your insurance should help you out.
Folks, keep your pants on until your partner says yes. Showing respect is also a way of expressing your passion. And do remember to ask for help from GGD Amsterdam or a therapist if you have or do have a bad experience in the bedroom. Silence could lead to self-destruction. But solidarity gives you power.
Support The Amsterdammer
We believe in the right to inform the students, Dutch or international, about their surroundings and the university life. We give a voice to the voiceless and have already formed over 100 students since April 2018. However, we need your help to continue to investigate, inform and train the students.