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Student Health Services

Student Health Services
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Student Health Services
Wellness Center
Student Services Plaza

Appointments: (239) 590-7966
Immunization: (239) 590-1254

Health Education




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Avoid Substance Abuse

Some college students experience significant pressure to use alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, especially when trying to make friends and become part of a group. Drinking among college students and on college campuses is more pervasive and destructive than many people may realize. Studies show that four out of five college students drink alcohol. One in five students report three or more binge drinking episodes in the prior two weeks; binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more for women within a short period of time. Alcohol consumption among persons aged 12–20 years contributes to the three leading causes of death (unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide) in this age group in the United States. It is associated with other health-risk behaviors, including high-risk sexual behavior, smoking, and physical fighting.


Quick Tips

Work with campus leaders to increase the availability of healthy activities and safe places on campus to meet with friends. If you are concerned about your or someone else's use of alcohol or other drugs, seek assistance from your parents, resident advisor, faculty advisor, student health/counseling services, or health care provider. Avoid second-hand smoke. It is just as harmful as if you were smoking yourself. Don’t drive after drinking or using drugs.

If you have concerns about drinking habits of yourself or others, please contact Student Health Services and we will assist you in finding the resources and the help that you need.  239-590-7966

Alcoholics Anonymous group meets at 8pm every Thursday in the Howard Hall conference room.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012).  College Health and Safety.  Retrieved from

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Birth Control - Options/Facts

Birth Control Facts


            Effectiveness:  If you are careful every time, they are 98% effective.  Condoms must be brand new right out of package and must NOT be expired.

Benefits:  They are free at FGCU Student Health Services.  You may also buy them at drugstores.  They are easy to use, easy to carrry and last in their sealed package for months.  Latex condoms help protect you from STD’s and HIV.  Student Health Services also carries latex-free condoms and larger sized condoms.  Available upon request. 

Risks:  Must be put on during sex which some may feel is awkward.  Some say that condoms reduce sexual feelings.  Some report condoms irritate the vagina and the penis.  Condoms do NOT protect against sexually transmitted diseases in every case. 

 Birth Control Pills

                Effectiveness:  no method of birth control except abstinence is 100% effective.  However, birth control pills can be 99% effective if taken correctly.  In real world use the pill is only 92% effective because of missed/late or incorrectly taken pills.  The pill does not provide protection from sexually transmitted diseases.  We recommend using condoms with the birth control pill.

                Benefits:  In addition to providing birth control, the pill may also provide the following benefits:  more predictable, lighter, and less painful periods, less risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer, and fewer ovarian cysts.  It may help reduce pain from endometriosis and improve acne.

                Side Effects:  While using birth control pills you might experience the following temporary side effects:  nausea, spotting between periods, irregular menstrual bleeding, breast tenderness, mood changes, changes in vaginal discharge, and darkening of the skin on your face.  If these symptoms bother you and persist after two or three pill packs you should make an appointment to discuss possibly changing your pill.

                Risks:  RARE BUT SERIOUS PROBLEMS INCLUDE:  blood clots in the legs or lungs, stroke or heart attack, gall bladder disease, liver problems, high blood pressure, and headachesSTOP the pill and contact your clinician at once if you develop: changing headache (new, more frequent, or severe), chest pain, shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain, leg or calf pain, numbness of an arm or leg, or sudden difficulty with speech or vision.

                Contraindications:  You should not take the pill if you have a history of a blood clot, pulmonary embolus, deep vein thrombosis, hepatitis or liver disease, cancer, heart attack or stroke.  You should not take the pill if you are pregnant, older than 35 and smoke or if you get a certain type of migraine headache (with aura).

                Stopping Birth Control:   You may stop using oral contraceptives at any time.  When the pill is stopped, the return of your period may be delayed for two to three months.  If your periods were irregular, heavy or painful before taking the pill, they may return to that pattern when oral contraceptives are stopped.  You do not need to “take a break” from the pill.

 Additional Information for Birth Control Pill Takers:

  • A contraceptive visit at Student Health Services is required at least once a year in order to continue getting the Pill prescription.
  • Birth control pills may be purchased at Student Health Services or by prescription at a pharmacy.
  • It is important to take the pill within the same two hour period each day because taking the pill inconsistently increases the chance of pregnancy.
  • Emergency contraception (Plan B) is available if pills are taken incorrectly.
  • Pap smears should begin at age 21 and, if normal, should be repeated every three years.

When to Start Taking Pills: 

                You should begin your first pack of pill as instructed by your provider:

v  The first day of your next period or….

v  The Sunday after your next period begins (if your period begins on a Sunday, start the pill that day.)  Use condoms for at least one week or….

v  Start on the exact date as discussed between you and your health care provider.

When you finish one pack of pills, begin a new pack the next day.  Your period should come during the fourth week of the pill pack, but irregular bleeding is common during the first three months of use.

Missed Pill Instructions:

ü  If you miss one pill:  take as soon as you remember it, even if it means taking two pills at the same time.

ü  If you miss two pills:  take two as soon as you remember, then take two the next day.  use an additional method of contraception (condoms) for seven days.

ü  If you miss three pills:  discard the three missed pills, continue taking one pill daily, use condoms to protect against pregnancy and schedule an appointment at Student Health Services to discuss further.

ü  Plan B (the morning after pill) is available at Student Health Services if you missed more than one pill and you didn’t use condoms.

ü  Spotting and irregular bleeding are common after missing pills.


Additional Resources:

Click on the ‘For Patients’ tab.  Under Contraception click ‘Birth Control Pills’

Search for ‘Birth Control’ and ‘See Hormonal Methods’

 Depo Provera

            Effectiveness:  Depo Provera is an intramuscular injection of artificial hormones given by a health care provider.  This shot stops ovaries from releasing an egg and thickens the cervical mucus so it’s hard for sperm to enter womb.  The injection is given approximately every 3 months. 

                Benefits:  Depo Provera is more than 99% effective and offers very few health problems for many women.  This medication does not interfere with sex and lasts 3 months.  Depo Provera often decreases bleeding and cramping associated with periods.  It is also safe to use while breastfeeding.  There is also less chance of developing endometrial cancer. 

                Side Effects:  While Depo Provera is effective and convenient, it may cause heavy periods, irregular periods, light periods or no period at all.  You may not be able to get pregnant for several months after shots are stopped.  You may also experience weight changes, moodiness, headaches or dizziness. 

                Risks:  Long-term use may reduce bone density in some women.  Depo Provera provides NO protection from HIV and other STD’s.


            Effectiveness:  A diaphragm is a small rubber cup that fits inside the vagina, over the cervix and used with contraceptive cream or jelly that kills sperm.  Must be fitted by healthcare provider.   If you are very careful each time—94% effective.  It you are NOT careful, only 84% effective. 

                Benefits:  Can be inserted 2 hours before sexual intercourse.  Only use when needed. 

                Side Effects:  Some women report more bladder infections.  There is a very small chance of toxic shock syndrome.  Some women report it is messy, difficult to insert and to remove and the cream and jelly used with it may irritate the vagina or penis. 

                Risks:  Does not offer protection from HIV and other STD’s.


            Effectiveness:  The IUD is a small device placed inside the womb by a health care provider.  This device prevents sperm from fertilizing the egg.  The IUD thickens mucus in the cervix so it’s hard for sperm to enter.  This form of birth control is 99% effective.

                Benefits:  The IUD doesn’t interfere with sex and lasts 5-10 years.  It may also cause lighter periods or eventually no period at all. 

                Side Effects:  The IUD may cause more bleeding and cramping during periods or spotting between periods.  If a woman gets pregnant, the IUD may need to be taken out.  The IUD should not be used by women with multiple partners. 

                Risks:  None.


                Hiatt, J. (2007).  Birth Control Facts.  ETR Associates





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Domestic Violence


 Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.

 Examples of abuse include: 

  • name-calling or putdowns
  • keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
  • withholding money
  • stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
  • actual or threatened physical harm
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • intimidation

Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.

The violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while. An important step to help yourself or someone you know in preventing or stopping violence is recognizing the warning signs listed on the "Violence Wheel."

ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM! Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavior problems.

If you are being abused, REMEMBER:

1.You are not alone

2.It is not your fault

3.Help is available


Local and Online Resources: 


Retrieved from

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Emergency Contraception

Student Services offers Plan B emergency contraception for $15.00.  You must schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider by calling Student Health Services.  You must provide Eagle ID at time of appointment.  Please review the Plan B website for detailed information regarding pill dosage and side effects.

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General Health and Wellness

Good health means more that treating illnesses when they occur. It also means achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, getting optimal nutrition, exercising and staying fit, and taking steps to prevent disease. Taking control of your health and well- being gives you the best chance for living a full and rewarding life.

FGCU Student Health Services offers a range of prevention and wellness services.  We offer pap smears, physicals, eye exams, smoking cessation information, disease prevention information, immunizations, dietetic information, along with a  certified dietitian on site. 

Please contact Student Health Services at 239-590-7966 to make an appointment for a general checkup or to seek assistance from our dietitian.  Appointments at Student Health and with the dietitian are free of charge. 

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The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people's surveillance and defense systems against infections and some types of cancer. As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient. Immunodeficiency results in increased susceptibility to a wide range of infections and diseases that people with healthy immune systems can fight off. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can take 10-15 years to develop. This stage is defined by the development of certain cancers, infections, or other severe clinical manifestations.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of infection. Though people living with HIV tend to be most infectious in the first few months, many are unaware of their status until later stages. The first few weeks after initial infection, individuals may experience no symptoms or a flu-like illness including fever, headache, rash or sore throat.

As the infection progressively weakens the person's immune system, the individual can develop other signs and symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhea and cough. Without treatment, they could also develop severe illnesses such as tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis, and cancers such as lymphomas and Kaposi's sarcoma, among others.


HIV can be transmitted via unprotected and close contact with a variety of body fluids of infected individuals, such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions. Individuals cannot become infected through ordinary day-to-day contact such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal objects, food or water.

Examples of HIV transmission routes include:

  • unprotected anal or vaginal sex with an HIV- infected partner;
  • mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding;
  • transfusion with HIV-infected blood products;
  • sharing of contaminated injection equipment, tattooing, skin-piercing tools and surgical equipment.

 Risk factors

Behaviors and conditions that put individuals at greater risk of contracting HIV include:

  • having unprotected anal or vaginal sex;
  • having another sexually transmitted infection such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and bacterial vaginosis;
  • sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other infected equipment and drug solutions for injection drug use;
  • receiving unsafe injections, blood transfusions, medical procedures that involve unsterile cutting or piercing;
  • experiencing accidental needle stick injuries, including among health workers.


An HIV test reveals infection status by detecting the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV in the blood. Antibodies are produced by individuals' immune systems to fight off foreign pathogens. Most people have a "window period" of 3 to 12 weeks during which antibodies to HIV are still being produced and are not yet detectable. This early period of infection represents the time of greatest infectivity but transmission can occur during all stages of the infection. Retesting should be done after three months to confirm test results once sufficient time has passed for antibody production in infected individuals.

People must agree to be tested for HIV and appropriate counseling should be provided. HIV test results should be kept confidential, and everyone should receive post-test counseling and follow-up care, treatment and prevention measures as appropriate.

Confidential oral or blood testing for HIV is offered at SHS with an appointment by calling 239-590-7966 Monday through Friday.  Oral testing is free.

Retrieved from

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Influenza (Flu)

Please visit the CDC for the most current information for this years flu virus.

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Mental Health

Mental health includes your emotional, physical and overall well-being.  It is very important to take good care of yourself, not just physically, but also emotionally while you are in college.  There are often tough, challenging times college students face throughout their time at FGCU.  If you are struggling or feel overwhelmed please ask yourself some questions and let Student Health Services know if:

  • You find that your relationships are creating mostly problems and unhappiness.
  • Your alcohol and/or drug use is concerning you, your friends, or your family.
  • You find that you no longer enjoy things that you usually did.
  • You are so stressed that you feel hopeless or cannot cope.
  • You are having problems sleeping and/or eating.
  • You have thoughts about ending your life.

If you answered yes to any of these questions or you need someone to talk to, call Student Health Services at 239-590-7966 or Counseling & Psychological Services at 239-590-7950.  After-hours crisis services are available by phone including evenings, weekend, and holidays.  You are not alone.

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Pap smears

Student Health Services does provide pap smears.  However, pap smears are not indicated as frequently as they once were.  A pap smear is not required to obtain birth control pills.  For additional information see: 

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Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence:

Sexual violence (SV) is any sexual act that is perpetrated against someone's will. SV encompasses a range of offenses, including a completed nonconsensual sex act (i.e., rape), an attempted nonconsensual sex act, abusive sexual contact (i.e., unwanted touching), and non-contact sexual abuse (e.g., threatened sexual violence, exhibitionism, verbal sexual harassment). These four types are defined in more detail below. All types involve victims who do not consent, or who are unable to consent or refuse to allow the act.

•A completed sex act is defined as contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus involving penetration, however slight; contact between the mouth and penis, vulva, or anus; or penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object.

•An attempted (but not completed) sex act

•Abusive sexual contact is defined as intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person without his or her consent, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse.

•Non-contact sexual abuse does not include physical contact of a sexual nature between the perpetrator and the victim. It includes acts such as voyeurism; intentional exposure of an individual to exhibitionism; unwanted exposure to pornography; verbal or behavioral sexual harassment; threats of sexual violence to accomplish some other end; or taking nude photographs of a sexual nature of another person without his or her consent or knowledge, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse.

 Why is a Consistent Definition Important?

A consistent definition is needed to monitor the incidence of SV and examine trends over time. In addition, it helps determine the magnitude of SV and compare the problem across jurisdictions. A consistent definition also helps researchers measure risk and protective factors for victimization in a uniform manner. This ultimately informs prevention and intervention efforts.


Basile KC, Saltzman LE. Sexual violence surveillance: uniform definitions and recommended data elements version 1.0. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2002. Available from:

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Sexual Health - Get the Facts about STD's

Think an STD can’t happen to you?


Don’t be in the dark about your health.  Ten thousand young adults are infected by STDs every day; that’s one every eight seconds.

That’s why at the DOH we’ve unveiled a place where you can be kept out of the dark when it comes to STDs, yet can still remain anonymously “in the dark” when it comes to revealing your identity.

The site can help you find the must-knows of the diseases, locate an STD testing site nearby, and even anonymously tell a partner that you believe they may have been exposed to an STD to encourage them to get tested.

We hope you will use as a way to ditch the dark, and get the naked truth on STDs.

A message brought to you by the Florida Department of Health

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BeTobaccoFree Website Can Help You Quit for Good

Please visit

For the podcast or transcript, go to:

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Stress in college is often a normal part of the university experience.  Some stress can be very healthy; however some stress can cause problems.  If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, take some time and remember that you can learn how to manage your stress.   You can get help by talking to someone at FGCU Student Health Services.  By talking to a professional healthcare provider, you can learn how to manage your stress and take care of your feelings. 

1)     Know what stresses you.  Set goals and make a list of times that you feel stressed.

2)     Make a plan.  Learn how to manage your time and stay on task.  Take your time navigating through life so that you can reach your goals. 

3)    Remember to take care of your physical well-being.  Try and incorporate healthy foods and exercise into your activities of daily living.  Take breaks and get plenty of rest. 

4)    Take care of your emotional well-being.  Take time out from stressful environments and situations.  Plan ahead so that you are not rushed.  Always remember to plan fun, relaxing times that are enjoyable to you.  Surround yourself with caring and supportive people.  Always remember to value your strengths.

If you feel like you cannot handle your stress on your own, do not be afraid to seek help.  Call or stop in to FGCU Student Health Services and make an appointment to discuss your feelings.

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Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

 Struggling with addiction/substance abuse?  Often young adults are faced with overwhelming life situations and are unfortunately lead to participate in substance abuse.  Students become addicted to drugs, alcohol and other illegal substances, often while in colleg.  There is help on campus and through other avenues.  See below for a list of excellent resources for our students at FGCU.  Counseling and Psychological Services located in Howard Hall, Suite 228, provides consultation and referral, outreach programs, emergency on-call services, and assessment services.  There is a Substance Abuse Clinician on staff.  Call 239-590-7950 or email at  You may also visit Student Health Services for a physical assessment and for other resources.

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Travelers' Health

Are You Travelling Outside of the Country? Please visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travelers' Health website for the current required/recommnded vaccine information.

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Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis:  Get the Facts

What is tuberculosis? 

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that can be spread from person-to-person through airborne transmission. It is spread when an infectious individual expels germs into the air by coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Those with close, prolonged contact with an infected person have the highest risk of exposure. The disease usually affects the lungs, but other parts of the body can be infected in cases of extra-pulmonary TB. Symptoms of TB include weakness, fever, fatigue, cough, coughing up blood, chest pain, night sweats, and/or weight loss.

How is TB spread?

TB germs are spread from person to person through the air.  TB germs are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, laughs, or sings.  TB is NOT spread by sharing silverware or cups, sharing saliva or kissing.

What are symptoms of TB?

People with TB disease often feel weak or sick, lose weight, have fever, and have night sweats.  If their TB disease is in the lungs, they may also cough and have chest pain, or may cough up blood. 

TB disease vs. TB infection

People with active TB disease are infected individuals who are sick with symptoms and are infectious to others. Precautions must be taken so that they do not spread the disease. Active TB disease can be treated with a variety of medications. Some individuals are infected with the TB organism but are not sick with disease. This is often referred to as latent TB infection. Individuals with latent TB infection were exposed to the germ at some point, but the infection is not active inside the body. These individuals are not infectious to others, but the infection can turn into active TB disease if the immune system is challenged. Latent TB infection can be treated with medication and is recommended for high-risk groups (see below).

How can I tell if I have TB?

Get a TB skin test or blood test.  If you have a positive reaction to either of the tests, you will probably be given other tests to see if you have TB infection or TB disease.

Where can I get a TB skin test?

You can get a TB skin test from your doctor, local health department or FGCU Student Health Services after speaking to a healthcare worker.

What if the test is negative?

A negative skin test usually means you are not infected.  However, the test may be falsely negative if you were infected recently.  It usually takes 2 to 10 weeks after exposure to a person with TB disease for your skin test to react as positive.  The test may also be falsely negative if your immune system is not working properly.

What if the test is positive?

A positive skin test or blood test usually means that you have been infected with the TB germ.  It does not necessarily mean that you have TB disease.

What should I do if I have TB infection or TB disease?

Get the required follow-up tests.  Follow your doctor’s advice and take the medicine as prescribed.  Today, both TB infection and TB disease can be treated and cured with medication. 


For further information, please contact Lee County Health Department at 239-332-9529 or CDC Division of Tuberculosis Elimination Website at


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West Nile Virus and Preventing Mosquito Bites

Did you know that  a single mosquito bite can make you sick. Why take a chance? Use repellent on yourself, your friends and your family.

If you would like to know more about the West Nile Virus, please click on the following links: