It’s Sexual Health Week (15 – 21 September) and in Plymouth there are a range of services available to help you maintain good sexual and reproductive health.
The focus for this year is on contraception and the purpose of this week is to counter some of the common myths and misconceptions which can leave people at risk of unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health for Plymouth City Council, said: “Good sexual and reproductive health is an essential component of positive health and wellbeing. The consequences of poor sexual health, including sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies can have a lasting impact on people’s lives. Excellent progress has been made in some areas in recent years – Plymouth’s rates of teenage pregnancy are now at their lowest level since 1998.”
Dr Kelechi Nnoaham, Director of Public Health said: “I would encourage everyone to take their sexual health seriously, to be responsible and not take unnecessary risks. It is important for people to know that we have a range of excellent services in the city that provide good access throughout the week.”
Contraception and Sexual Health: The Facts
If you have had unprotected sex, that is, sex without using contraception, or think your contraception might have failed, for example a condom has split or you’ve missed a pill, you can use emergency contraception.
Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms are the only method of contraception that protects you from some sexually transmitted infections.
Male and female condoms, when used correctly and consistently, can help protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Sexual Health Services in Plymouth
Chlamydia is the most common STI in people under 25. It often has no symptoms but can lead to some long-term health problems. If you are sexually active you should get tested annually or when you change partner.
The Chlamydia Screening Programme provides specialist advice and services to under 25s. You can ring them on 01752 434865. http://www.plymouthcommunityhealthcare.co.uk/services/chlamydia-screening-programme
Or you can request a postal kit through www.freetest.me
CCASH – Community Contraception and Sexual Health Service at the Cumberland Centre in Devonport provide the full range of contraceptive methods and sexual health advice. You can ring for an appointment on (01752) 434429
The Zone provides free sexual health advice Monday – Friday between 12pm – 5pm and Saturday 10.30am – 4pm. During these times they provide free condoms, chlamydia testing and pregnancy testing.
All of the clinics are run on a drop-in basis so you do not need to make an appointment. The service is in town – at Derry’s Cross at the top of Union Street. Tel: 01752 206626
The GUM Service provides confidential testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing and advice and referral for abortion services
The service is at Derriford Hospital and offers a drop in service – no appointment necessary – Monday to Friday 8.30 – 10.30. Appointments are also available Monday – Saturday – ring for a suitable time 01752 431124
A list of sexual health services that provide free emergency contraception to young women aged 13-24 years, free condoms through the C-Card (condom distribution) scheme and chlamydia testing can be found at: http://www.eddystone.org.uk/young-people/got-your-free-condoms/
More general advice can be found at:
Sex Worth Talking About is an NHS website giving lots of information and advice about all aspects of sexual and reproductive health
NHS Choices provides loads of information about the different types of contraception