August 2013

Month Archives



The experience of being LGBT on campus depends on the person themselves; it depends on how open they are and how comfortable they are with their sexuality or gender. The atmosphere in college can play a large part too. Some LGBT students find that “coming out” in their particular
situation would be unnecessary hassle and possibly even dangerous. This does not however inferthat the person is ashamed of being LGBT. You should come out because YOU want to, not because someone else thinks you should.
GiGsoc is NUI Galway’s LGBT society, which provides a safe place for LGBT students to come and meet and to socialise in a fun atmosphere. The society also runs educational events throughout the year. The society can prove to be a source of support, understanding and friendship for LGBT students.
If you encounter any kind of discrimination and harassment, whether it is spoken or unspoken, physical or sexual, from anyone in college, students or staff you do not have to stand for it. You can contact the Students’ Union Equality Officer or Welfare Officer, who are in place to make sure there is no bullying or discrimination on campus.

Sexual Rights


You have rights in the bedroom.. or wherever you find yourself! These include the right to

  • accurate information about sexuality, contraception and sexually transmitted infections.
  • say no to an unwanted touch of any kind
  • stop being physical or sexual with a partner at any point
  • make decisions about sexuality, in your own time
  • express your sexuality safely
  • not be pressured into being physical or sexual
  • wear and do what you like without being sexually assaulted
  • not express your sexuality unless you want to.
  • feel safe in a physical or sexual relationship
  • feel comfortable with your actions and those of others towards you.
  • enjoy sex just for the pleasure of it
  • be treated as an equal sexual partner
  • be treated with dignity and respect at all times
  • express your desires, needs and concerns – and be listened to
  • be the one to initiate sex
  • choose your sexual partner, whether they are the same or the opposite sex
  • be treated by health care workers in a respectful, caring and sensitive way
  • contraception

Also see Equality, LGBT and Sexual Harassment

Sexually Transmitted Infections


Many people worry about the prospect of an unplanned pregnancy but may neglect to consider the real possibility of getting an infection. It’s hugely important to protect against STI’s and this can only be done with the use of a condom (either male or female) for all intimate sexual contact. Any sexual contact (anal, oral, digital) can transmit an STI so being a virgin does not mean you don’t have or can’t get an STI.

There are 25 different types of Sexually Transmitted Infections, which include chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea and pubic lice (which can be passed even when a condom is used).In the space of ten years, there has been a 700% increase in cases of Chlamydia in Ireland (Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), 2006). STIs are more commonly reported and particularly growing among 20-29 year olds (Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), 2006).

Many people with STI’s do not display symptoms. It is likely that you won’t even know you have one and yet it can have long term complications such as infertility and cancer. You can also pass it on despite having no symptoms. The symptoms which may or may not accompany STIs include:

  • abnormal discharge

  • irregular periods/staining

  • pain on passing urine

  • lower abdominal pain

  • an ulcer or wart on your genital skin

  • pain during intercourse

If you are sexually active you should have regular sexual health checks. You can make an appointment through your GP or at a GUM (Genito-Urinary Medicine) clinic (see details below).
Condoms are available for free from the Students’ Union Vice-President/ Welfare Office all year round.

What kind of STIs are there?

Sexually Transmitted Infections are split into three categories

Parasites: These are passed on through skin to skin contact and sometimes through contact with infected bedclothes. Examples include pubic lice (crabs)

Viral: These can only be treated, not cured. Hepatitis,HIV, Herpes all fall under the viral category. HPV (Genital warts) can lead to illnesses like cervical cancer. HIV can develop into AIDS – an illness that is fatal.

Bacterial: These are caused by bacteria. They are problematic but curable illnesses. In many instances these STIs display no symptoms. These bacterial STIs include Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Syphilis.

For a more detailed description of these Sexually Transmitted Illnesses, click here

STI Testing

Facilities for STI testing are available in the following hospitals.


Genitourinary Medicine (STI) Clinic -Galway University Hospital
(091) 525200

We specialise in the diagnosis, treatment, partner notification and prevention of sexually transmitted infections/diseases (also called STIs or STDs).

Our service is discrete and free of charge.

Anyone can attend the clinic. We see people of all different age ranges, nationality, sexual orientation and backgrounds.

Who should attend the STI clinic?

It is important that you attend if you have any symptoms or signs of infection or if a partner of yours has been diagnosed with an infection. Symptoms in men include discomfort when passing urine, discharge and skin rashes in the genital skin. Similar symptoms can occur in women. In addition women can experience painful periods, bleeding between periods, painful intercourse and lower abdominal pain.

If you are otherwise concerned that you may have come into contact with a sexually transmitted infection but don’t have any symptoms it is a good idea to attend the clinic for a checkup.

What happens when I attend the clinic?

Initially, you will meet with a receptionist and then a health advisor.

You will be given a reference number which is unique to you. Please keep this number in a safe place for future attendances and to get results. There is often a delay to be seen by the doctor so please allow extra time for your visit and bring something to read if you like.

Next, you will be seen by a doctor. She/he will ask about any symptoms you may have and the reason for your visit. Personal questions related to your sexual health will be asked to assess your risk for infection and determine what tests need to be done. Your privacy and the sensitivity of these questions will be respected.

A genital examination is done and swabs are taken to test for common sexually acquired infections. A blood test is then usually done.

Health advisors and other staff are available to discuss any concerns or questions you may have. Please ask to speak with a health advisor if you would like any further information in relation to STIs or safer sex. Health advisors will also help if you need to inform a partner about a STI. Literature on STIs and safer sex is also available in the clinic.

Results will usually be available within 2 weeks.


We offer appointments and also a walk-in service. It is important to note that there is a maximum quota that can be seen at a walk in service.

Please see schedule as follows:-




Monday Afternoon

STI  treatment screening and

review clinic

By appointment  only

Tuesday Morning

Vaccination clinic

By appointment only

Tuesday Afternoon

Results clinic


14:00 – 16:00


Attendance for results

14:00- 16:00 by appointment only

Wednesday Morning

‘Walk-In’* STI clinic

Doors open at 08:50*  (Arrive earlier as maximum quota that can be seen)

Wednesday Afternoon

STI review and

treatment clinic

By appointment only

Friday Morning

‘Walk-In’* STI clinic

Doors open at 08:50*  (Arrive earlier as maximum quota that can be seen)

Friday Afternoon

Results clinic


14:00 – 16:00


Attendance for results

14:00- 16:00 by appointment only

• Please note that the walk-in clinic operates on a “first come first served basis” with a maximum quota that can be seen at any one clinic. Please contact us prior to your visit should you need any further information.


We are located in a self-contained building to the left of the main Hospital. As you enter the hospital grounds (from the university side) take the first left. Follow signs for Genitourinary Medicine Clinic, Infectious Diseases and Hepatology. We are located to the front of the hospital grounds, in front of maternity services and directly across from the shops in Newcastle Road.

Please contact us should you need further directions or assistance.

TELEPHONE NO.: 091-525200

Ennis General Hospital
(061) 482382 (appointment only)
Monday: 10:00am – 1:00pm


Limerick Regional Hospital
(061) 482382 (appointment only)
Tuesday & Friday: 10:00am – 1:00pm & 2:00pm – 5:00pm


Mayo General Hospital
Castlebar, Co. Mayo
(094) 9021733
Tuesday: 10:00am – 1:00pm

Sligo Regional Hospital
(071) 9170473
Tuesday: 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Nenagh General Hospital
(061) 482382 (appointment only)
Wednesday: 2:00pm – 5:00pm



There are a variey of methods of contraception available including barrier methods, hormonal methods and natural methods but there is no method of contraception that is 100% effective so make sure that you don’t incresse the risk further by incorrect use.

Some methods are much more reliable than others. Some contraceptives have side effects which depend on the person. No matter what the method you chose you need to see a GP to enure it is right for you.
In emergencies the morning after pill is available from the Student Health Unit. this should be taken within 72 hours of having sex, i.e. the sooner it’s taken, the more effective it is.

You can learn more about contraception at Think Contraception


Abstinence is the avoidance of sexual intercourse. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

A woman can still get pregnant

  • If a man pulls out “in time”
  • During her period
  • If it’s her first time
  • At any time in her menstrual cycle
  • In every position
  • If she washes the inside of her vagina after sex

There are a variey of methods of contraception available including barrier methods, hormonal methods and natural.
No method of contraception is 100% effective so make sure that you don’t incresse the risk further by incorrect use.
Some methods are much more reliable than others. Some contraceptives have side effects which depend on the person. No matter what the method you chose you need to see a Gp to enure it is right for you.
In emergencies the morning after pill is available from the Student Health Unit. this should be taken within 72 hours of having sex,i.e. the sooner it’s taken, the more effective it is.

The Coil
Combined Pill
Progestogen-only Pill

The Dam

Diaphragm (“cap”) with spermicide
Male Condom
Female Condom

The Patch



Every time you have sex without using a method of contraception, you are in danger of becoming pregnant. Early symptoms of pregnancy include a missed period, nausea or ‘morning sickness’, heaviness or pain in the breasts, excessive tiredness, period type pains without bleeding or with a very slight bleed only or a slight change in the colour of your nipples. If you have any of these symptoms or have a reason to believe you might be pregnant you should have a pregnancy test immediately.
Some home pregnancy tests can be used on the day of your expected period. While these tests claim to be fool proof you will need to have your pregnancy confirmed by a doctor. If you are pregnant there are three main options open to you and you can contact the Students’ Union, Student Health Unit or the Irish Family Planning Association to discuss which would be the best for you. Crisis pregnancy counselling services are now available free of charge to students and medical card holders at IFPA clinics around the country. Counselling services are currently available in Galway. To make an appointment, telephone the IFPA at 1850 49 50 51 (price of a local call from anywhere in the country).


Nurture is a project aimed at supporting parenting and expecting students at NUI Galway. Parenting and expecting students are invited to drop in to the Wellness Centre at the back of The Hub in Áras na Mac Léinn anytime between 12pm and 2pm every Tuesday. This is an informal gathering with tea/coffee and snacks. It will give you a chance to meet other parenting and expecting students, share your experiences and concerns, and support one another. Nurture is a project of the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards in collaboration with the Health Promotion Unit.

Please contact Evelyn or Cindy for more information:

Unplanned Pregnancy

Every time that you have heterosexual sex you could become pregnant (or in the case of a man, you may impregnate someone). Should this happen, support is available for both men and women. If the due date for your period has passed, it is only then that you should do a test. The reason for this is if you do the test before your due date there’s a chance that you may get a positive result even if you are not pregnant as the hormone which is tested will be quite high before your period. You can have a test done in the Student Health Unit. Should you miss labs etc. due to morning sickness you can get a letter from the Health Unit and give it to the secretary of the Department.
The Positive Options campaign is run by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency which aims to make more women of all ages aware of the help that is available to them should they have an unplanned pregnancy. The campaign does not pass judgment or push values onto people. It is concerned with the provision of accurate and non-directive information about the options available. Many agencies also provide support for men involved in an unplanned pregnancy. Free Text “List” to 50444 or visit for more information.

Maintaining the Pregnancy

It is important to seek support from others during your pregnancy. It may seem difficult at first, but you will be surprised by their reaction, which is often more supportive than you think.

Finance – What you are entitled to?

One Parent Family Payment and Child Benefit are applied for after the birth at your local Social Welfare office. It is important to note that you may be able to earn a certain amount of money per week before your payments are deducted. For more information contact your local Students’ Union.

Education – Which decision is right for me?

It is important to talk to someone in your department. They will be very understanding and can help with deadlines for essays and project work. You may need to defer your exams until the following year. Your tutor however, will be best placed to advise. Try and book into the local créche as soon as possible. Contact your Welfare Officer for more details.

Foster Care

This is an option you may take if you are unsure about the option of adoption, but are unable to look after your child. It involves the placement of your child with a family or individual but you retain parental rights. It can be arranged through the Health Boards or privately, although the local health board must be notified. You might find this helpful during the first few months allowing yourself time to decide about keeping the baby or to sort out problems like accommodation.


The decision to go ahead with your pregnancy is a big one. If you are considering adoption there are many people who can help you. These can be contacted via the Students’ Union. No matter what you decide however it is important to talk to someone about your emotions, to help you decide what the best thing is for you. The worst thing to do is make a hasty decision on your own, so please talk to someone who can help.

Termination of Pregnancy

The decision to terminate a pregnancy is not one which any woman takes lightly. You will need professional counselling and friendly support. Abortion is somewhat a taboo subject in Ireland, despite the fact that 100 Irish women travel to England for abortions each and every week. This means that between January 1981 and December 1998, 76,025 Irish women had abortions abroad. There are plenty of people around who will give you non-directional and impartial advice. They will not force you to make a decision, they will help you come to your own. If you just want information, nobody will force you to say anything or make any decision. Pre and post abortion counselling are available free of charge from the Irish Family Planning Association. For more information contact the Students’ Union, the Student Health Unit or the Irish Family Planning Association. The Irish Family Planning Association gives non-directional advice on every option open to a woman during pregnancy.

Crisis Pregnancy Options

Sexual Health


For a small word, sex can mean so many different things. It can be romantic, slow, quick, meaningful or functional but it is something that consenting adults engage in. Each person thinks of and experiences, sex differently and it’s a personal thing. Whenever you decide to engage in any sexual activity, always do so in a safe, protected and responsible manner. Never feel obliged or pressured into having sex. It is always your own choice.

See also: Pregnancy, Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexual Rights, Being LGBT on campus, Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment


Health Unit


The Student Health Unit (located upstairs in Áras na Mac Léinn) provides a confidential general practitioner service.
Most services provided by the Health Unit are FREE. Upon entering the Student Health Unit for the first time, you will be required to fill out a form. Information on the form will only be seen by Health Unit Staff to note your medical history.

The opening hours of the unit are 9.15am – 12:30pm and 2:30pm – 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

The Health Unit operates on a walk in triage basis daily with students seen on a first come, first served basis.

There is no charge to visit the nurse or doctor, however, there are charges for certain ancillary services such as physiotherapy and holiday vaccinations.

Students may attend the nurse from 9:15pm to 4:30pm without appointment. The service is entirely confidential.

The Student Health Unit is located upstairs in Áras Na Mac Léinn (next office AFTER the SU)

Extension: 2604
Direct: 091-492604
Emergencies ONLY: 087-2623997 (outside office hours or at the weekend)


Also see : Free Services, Fee Paying Services, Eu/EEA Students, Medications/Medical Histories, Confidentiality, Meningitis C Vaccine

When you arrive at your destination

Travel Advice

Culture Shock

Culture shock can be very real. The term describes the stress that many travellers experience when arriving in countries where pretty much everything can be very different to everything they are used to. Homesickness can be a big problem when spending large chunks of time away from home. Some travellers go abroad to avoid unresolved problems and this can make things worse. Time differences between continents might increase isolation when it’s difficult to contact friends back home.

Food and Drink

Only eat food that has been cooked all the way through or fruits and vegetables that have been washed and peeled. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it or don’t eat it.Only drink water or other drinks from sources you trust. In some countries tap water (which may also be used for ice) is not recommended for consumption and bottled or boiled water is recommended.

Health and Vaccinations

Travel Advice

If you take any medication, then make sure you have enough for the whole trip and bring a copy of the prescription.

Take special care over arranging your vaccinations. Give yourself plenty of time to get fully vaccinated. Contact your G.P or call into the Health Unit for more information on what vaccinations you need.

  • Vaccinations take time. Consult your doctor or nurse as soon as possible ideally 8 weeks before departure. Late bookings can leave insufficient time for vaccinations to become fully effective.
  • Tetanus and diphtheria vaccination is important. For countries where these diseases are still common you should to receive boosters every 10 years and everyone should have completed their normal British childhood schedule.
  • There is an increasing risk of tuberculosis for those visiting many of the high-risk areas and mixing with the local population. Remember protection from BCG vaccination is only achieved after about 4-6 weeks. Boosters are not normally required.
  • Meningococcal type ACWY vaccine is advised for those visiting risk areas in sub-Saharan Africa who will be mixing closely withthe local population, as might be the case in your situation.
  • Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines are important for those who are not able to be careful about their food and water hygiene in risk areas, asis often the case with the more adventurous traveller.
  • Japanese B encephalitis is spread by mosquitoes and is sometimes advised for those spending longer periods in risk, especially rural areas, as is often the case with the more adventurous traveller.
  • Influenza vaccine can be considered for those who might get a more severe illness such as those with existing chest problems. Remember the ‘flu’ season in the Southern Hemisphere is from April to November.
  • Rabies vaccination can be important if you are going to be more than a day or two from good medical facilities that may well be the case in your situation.
  • Yellow fever is a mosquito borne disease and occurs most commonly in jungle areas. It is therefore more likely in travellers going to remote areas. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is necessary for crossing borders in many parts of Africa and South America.
Insect Bites
Depending on what part of the world you are in, mosquitoes and ticks can spread infections and disease. Remember to take particular care between April and October when mosquitoes are most likely to be around. Try to avoid risky areas like outdoor pools and watering holes. Dress appropriately in long sleeves and minimise skin exposure. Use mosquito repellents and mosquito nets at night.

J1 Information

Travel Advice

This year more than any other J-1 students need to be prepared for traveling to the USA. The economic climate is improving but jobs are still difficult to find and accommodation costs continue to be high. Students who take the time to be prepared are far more likely to have a successful and enjoyable summer experience.


  • Bring/have access to sufficient money to cover your expenses. A minimum of $2,500 -$3,500 is recommended depending on where you are traveling to. The cost of living is higher in large cities.
  • Have access to backup/emergency funds as it may take longer to find a job this year.
  • If you have local contacts in the USA use them to help you to find accommodation and jobs. The job market is tough in most areas so personal contacts are more important than ever.
  • Research local conditions, unemployment rates, seasonal job opportunities before you arrive
  • Prepare a US style resume (1 page in length) and bring references from Irish employers.
  • Make copies all your important documents – DS 2019, passport, J1 visa and your flight tickets. Leave one copy at home and take one copy with you but pack it separately from your originals.
  • Contact the Irish Center in the area to get local information.
    A list of Irish Centers in the US can be found at
  • If possible secure a job before you travel.
  • Make a list of emergency contacts for your destination city in case you run into problems.
  • Read the materials from your sponsoring agency and/or contact Crosscare Migrant Project in Dublin to make sure that you are fully prepared before you travel.
  • For information on departing and reentering the US with useful tips on documentation and procedures go to

Check out IrishCentral’s tips : Top ten tips for Irish J1 students coming to the U.S. for the summer


  • Contact your Program Sponsor to activate your SEVIS record as soon as you arrive in the US. You can use a temporary address and update it as necessary when you move.
  • Wait for at least two days after you register with SEVIS before you apply for your Social Security Card. It can take 4-6 weeks before you get your card, but will take longer if you have not registered with SEVIS. You will have difficulty securing a job if you do not have a Social Security Card so make sure to get the application in as soon as possible.
  • Make contact with any friends, family, organization or Irish Center contacts that you have locally to help you with securing jobs and accommodation.
  • Begin looking for accommodation and jobs as soon as you can, it often becomes more difficult to get both as more foreign students arrive.
  • Always carry official identification with you in addition to making back-up copies to keep at home


  • Be aware that most apartments in the US come unfurnished unless listed otherwise.
  • In most areas you will be required to pay first and last month’s rent, and a security deposit up front
  • Before you sign any lease make sure that you are dealing with a legitimate Real Estate Agent and that have read and understood the lease. Seek advice from local Irish Centers who have experience with local laws and conditions.


  • Local contacts, friends and family to help you secure a job especially in a tight labor market
  • Travel to areas that are looking for large numbers of seasonal workers.
  • Irish Centers often have job boards and some even organize summer job fairs.
  • Bring a US style resume, and dress appropriately when you go for a job interview.
  • Follow up with a thank you letter or email to the person who interviewed you.
  • Apply for a range of jobs and take the first job that you are offered you can always change later.
  • Many employers require routine alcohol and drug screening before hiring.


  • If you travel out of the USA bring the appropriate documentation – you will not be re-admitted to the USA without it.
    Contact your sponsoring organization for more information
  • The US State Department continues to issue travel alerts for those intending to go to Mexico. While many people safely visit Mexico each year it is important to know that violence there has increased significantly. Most of the violence is near the US border, including in Tijuana. Reports of shoot out’s in the streets among Mexican drug cartels are a regular occurrence. It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, so please read the latest warnings/alerts from the State Department at:
  • Public disorder offences are often penalized more severely in the US so keep party noise levels to acceptable levels.
  • Drug offences may result in deportation and a permanent bar from re-entering the United States.
  • In most states drinking alcohol in public is an offense that may result in an overnight in jail and a court date. Failure to appear for a court date can result in an arrest warrant and will cause problems for future visits to the United States

Please take the time to prepare for your trip.
Research job and accommodation prospects before you travel and bring/have access to sufficient funds to keep you going until you find a job. Keep the emergency number for your sponsoring agency handy at all times. Be aware of and observe the laws and have enjoyable summer in the USA.