Header Image, Health and Safety

Sexual Health Abroad

If you are sexually active while you are participating on a global learning experience, be aware that laws, cultural norms and risks related to sexual activity may vary widely, and it is important to consider the context of your individual situation and assume a greater degree of caution.

Safer sex products may be more difficult to obtain abroad, or the quality may vary (as in the case of condoms), so you may want to take an adequate supply with you. Access to sexual health services can vary widely as well. Check out the UC Davis Sexcess Map to find sexual health products and services on and around campus.

If you have any questions or need information about these matters before or during your program, do not hesitate to ask your program instructor, program coordinator, health professionals, health insurance providers and consult Student Health and Counseling Services’ web resources on Sexual Well-Being, the Global Learning Hub’s LGBTQIA+ Students web resources, and UCEAP’s Health and Safety web resources.

Safer Sex

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and syphilis continue to pose serious health risks in virtually every country. HIV, which can lead to an AIDS diagnosis if left untreated, is not only transmitted sexually but also through contaminated hypodermic needles and infected blood supplies.

Exercise all precautions, including the use of condoms, to prevent contraction of sexually transmitted infections. Anyone who is planning to be sexually active should carry condoms or other safer sex products. Many STIs do not exhibit obvious symptoms or only do so at certain stages, which means they can be transmitted without anyone knowing.

Information related to sexual activities, STIs, diagnosis and means of transmission varies widely. Individuals may not fully understand how transmission of infections occurs, may be unfamiliar with signs of infection or may not even know that such infections exist. Always consider the context of your situation and assume an appropriate degree of caution.

For information on sexually-transmitted infections and prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) sites on STIs and HIV and Student Health and Counseling Services’ Sexual Well-Being page.

Sexual Harassment

UC Davis is committed to providing an environment that is free of sexual harassment for everyone who participates in University programs and activities. This commitment extends to the learning and living environment abroad. While sexual harassment issues may be difficult to identify in different cultures, a useful rule is to assume that sexual harassment consists of any unwanted sexual advances and/or behaviors no matter what the form (verbal, visual, written, physical, etc.). Trust your judgment and intuition. If a situation makes you uncomfortable, it needs to be addressed

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault includes any unwanted sexual act that is attempted or committed without a person’s consent. In California, this includes unwanted vaginal, anal or oral sex, as well as unwanted touching of intimate body parts. Sexual assault can be committed by a partner, date, spouse, classmate, instructor, friend, acquaintance, family member, stranger, etc. The University of California policy utilizes an Affirmative Consent standard. Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious agreement to participate in sexual activity. Consent is voluntary and revocable at any time. Consent cannot be given when an individual is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, forced or threatened, underage, or unconscious. Affirmative consent means that consent for one activity, is not consent for further sexual activities.

Sexual Violence Support Services and Reporting Options

UC Davis offers several different resources for victims of sexual violence. To report any sexual violence and/or sexual harassment, students can choose to contact any one of the following resources for support and to understand their rights and reporting options:

Refer to this printable brochure summarizing UC Davis’ sexual violence support services and reporting options, including confidential reporting options such as CARE. Please note on this brochure that University employees are not confidential reporting options and are required to report all incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence against students to the Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program.

Your interactions through any Global Learning Hub experience are an official university activity and all campus policies apply. All participants are urged to follow the guidelines below to help reduce the risk of sexual assault as well as ensure their general safety while traveling:

  • Before departing, read about the cultural norms, expectations, social customs and practices of the host country/region – especially those related to dating and romantic customs. Understanding these norms does NOT mean you should accept unwanted sexual contact. Instead, it is meant to educate yourself about gender relations, verbal or body language and social cues around dating, which may be considerably different from the United States.
  • Understanding cultural norms helps to understand unfamiliar behavior and also to be aware of people who are not respecting your boundaries. Regardless of the country, culture norms or context, it is ALWAYS okay to say no to unwanted advances.
  • NEVER walk home alone at night and NEVER allow any of your classmates to either. This applies to all sexes and gender identities and is crucial to reduce risk for a wide variety of threats – pickpocketing, physical assault, kidnapping, accidents, etc. – and not just sexual assault.
  • Alcohol and other mood-altering substances contribute to vulnerability. Being alert and aware allows you to notice warning signs and be aware of your surroundings. If you choose to drink, designate someone in your group to be a designated non-drinker. Have a cell phone on you at all times, keep it charged, and keep important phone numbers saved in your phone.
  • Watch your drink at all times, and do not accept drinks from strangers. It is possible for someone to slip something into your drink.
  • If you notice a concerning interaction or sense a friend is being coerced or in danger, intervene. Introduce yourself, make yourself present, and offer a way out of the situation. People can’t give consent if they are incapacitated.
  • Never accompany a stranger anywhere, and be wary of strangers who claim they are in need of help.
  • Trust your gut. Know you are not alone. In case of sexual violence and/or sexual harassment, please seek support from the above reporting resources.