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What should you know about sexual health and contraception?

Sexual health services are all about helping to protect you - and helping you to protect yourself - from sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), supporting you with pregnancy tests, any unwanted pregnancies, as well as a number of other services.

When it comes to sexual health, looking after yourself not only protects you but also your partner.

Sex is often a taboo subject that many people have trouble discussing with family or friends. Therefore it is very important that there are independent experts that you can turn to if there is anything that is concerning you. With some STIs the long-term effects of leaving them untreated can be devastating and permanent, so the best thing you can do is ask for help from someone in the know as soon as you notice something is wrong.


Contraception

Contraception is the process of taking steps to ensure you do not become pregnant when you have sex. There are many options for doing this. They all have pros and cons. Different methods will be right for different couples, or right for you at different times in your life.

While many methods of contraception are effective, no method is completely (100%) reliable. For example, the contraceptive injection is more than 99% effective. In other words it is effective for more than 99 women in 100. This means less than 1 woman in 100 will become pregnant each year using this method of contraception. It is hard to understand the concept of less than one woman, so in this case the number is given out of 1,000 women instead of 100. For the example of injections, between 3 and 60 women out of every 1,000 using this method will fall pregnant.

When no contraception is used, around 85 in 100 sexually active women become pregnant within one year.

The effectiveness of some methods depends on how you use them. These are called "user-dependent methods". You have to use them properly or they do not work as well. For example, the combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill (often referred to as "the pill") is more than 99% effective if taken correctly. However, if you miss pills or are sick (vomit) then it becomes less effective. Other user-dependent methods include:

  • Barrier methods (male and female condoms, diaphragms and caps).
  • The progestogen-only pill (POP).
  • Natural family planning.

Some methods are not so user-dependent and need to be renewed only infrequently or never. These methods tend to be more reliable and include:

  • The contraceptive injection.
  • Contraceptive implant.
  • Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) - also known as 'coils'.
  • Sterilisation.

What can you do to help yourself?

As with all other medical conditions, in sexual health prevention is better than cure.

With sexual health the most important thing that you can do for yourself and your partner is to practise safe sex, both to prevent unwanted pregnancy and to prevent infection. Ordinarily this refers to wearing a condom. Other forms of contraception can protect against unwanted pregnancy but only a physical barrier or vaccination can protect against the spread of disease.

See here for different methods of contraceptive.

If you have any concerns about your own sexual health you should get yourself tested as soon as possible. Some diseases can be very painful and they can cause a person to become infertile and therefore unable to have children.

If you discover you or your partner are pregnant unexpectedly, and more importantly if it is an unwanted pregnancy, again you should talk to an expert as soon as possible. Don't delay!

Where can you go for help?

You can talk to your GP, or for more specialised advice you can visit your local sexual health clinic or genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic.

The clinic might offer services such as:

• Sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment
• Contraception (including injection or implant)
• Emergency contraception
• Pregnancy testing
• Unplanned pregnancy services
• HIV testing and treatment
• Chlamydia testing and treatment
• Free condoms
• Psychosexual counselling
• Sexual health information and advice
• Referral to vasectomy services

Contact details for local sources of help.

Sexual Health Clinic at Aldershot Centre for Health

All methods of contraception and emergency contraception are free and can be obtained from your GP or sexual health clinic.

Get It On Condom Card - If you are under 25 you can get free condoms from certain pharmacies, GP surgeries, youth groups and sexual health clinics. Even if you are under 16 years old you can still join the scheme. The website explains more and you can find your local services.

If you are of any age you can also get free condoms from a sexual health clinic or by post.

You can be tested for STIs, get any form of contraception including the pill, injection, implant, coil, diaphragm or cap, vaginal ring, condoms or emergency contraception, get condoms……chlamydia testing.

Websitewww.letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk

Tel: 0300 300 2016

Address: 4th Floor, Hospital Hill, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 1AY


Appointment only clinics

Available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Please ring 0300 300 2016 to book.

Wednesdays from 6.30pm to 7.30pm appointment by TEXT only. Please text ALDERM to 07860 021 455 between 9.30am - 11.30am for an appointment the same day, Wednesday evening at Aldershot.

Monday 12.00pm-2pm

Farnborough Sixth Form College Clinic - Farnborough Sixth Form Students Only

Farnborough Sixth Form College
Farnborough
GU14 8JX

Tuesday 12.00pm-2pm

Farnborough College of Technology Clinic - FCOT Students Only

Farnborough College of Technology
Boundary Road
Farnborough
GU14 6SB


Look up sexual health services in your area: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/getiton

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