Sexual health: staying protected

Male & female condoms

The use of condoms is one of the best ways of preventing pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's). One in ten of the UK population has had an STI at some time. This is why you should never leave home without one – you never know when you might need it!
 
Condom advantages:
  • Safe & effective
  • Only needed when you have sex
  • Protects against many sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
  • Available in different varieties, shapes and sizes
Condom disadvantages:
  • Male condoms can slip off or split if used incorrectly
  • Condoms are easily damaged by sharp fingernails or jewellery
Male condoms are free from community contraceptive and sexual health clinics.
Female condoms are also available free from some clinics.
 
Sexual health: staying protected - Male & female condoms - Alphega Pharmacy
 

The Pill

The contraceptive pill works by stopping the ovaries releasing an egg each month (ovulation) and is over 99% effective if taken according to instructions. However, you should still practice safe sex to ensure you do not catch an STI as it offers no protection against these.
 
Disadvantages of the Pill:
  • Temporary side effects include headaches, weight gain, breast tenderness, mood changes, nausea and bleeding between periods
  • May increase blood pressure
  • Rare serious side effects can include blood clots
  • Small increased risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer
  • Some prescription drugs affect how it works
Advantages of the Pill:
  • Makes periods shorter, lighter and less painful
  • Can help protect against cancer of the ovary and womb
  • May protect against some pelvic infections
  • Can help with premenstrual tension
  • Reduces the risk of fibroids (non-cancerous tumours in the womb) and ovarian cysts
GPs and community contraceptive clinics can prescribe the Pill, which is free of charge.
 

Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC)

If you have not taken proper precautions during sex and want to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, EHC is the best answer. EHC can be taken up to 72 hours after sex. However the sooner it is taken the more effective it is. If taken within 24 hours, it can prevent more than 90% of pregnancies. 
 
Although EHC can be taken more than once, it is not recommended as a regular method of contraception. Some prescribed and over-the counter medicines can affect the way the emergency pill work. Before a purchase of EHC can be authorised, our Pharmacist will need to conduct a short assessment in order to determine whether this is the best course of action.
 
EHC is also available free of charge from GPs, community contraceptive clinics and some pharmacies if the local health authority have this service in place. For more information about our Emergency Contraception Service please 
 

Sexually Transmittted Infections explained...

STI's are passed on through intimate sexual contact. Unfortunately, STIs have been rising continually in the UK since the early 1990s. Particularly significant rises have been reported in chlamydia, genital warts, herpes, and syphilis. By far the highest increase in STIs has been among the 16 to 24 age group, which is a worrying trend. If you do not practice safe sex, you risk catching one of the following:
Although many STI's show no symptoms at all, if you have any of the symptoms below or think you have contracted an STI, you should get them checked out with your GP or at a health clinic straight away to prevent the spread of infection to other people.
 

Symptoms 

Women:
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Soreness, redness and itching around the vulva (lips of the vagina), the vagina and anus
  • Bleeding between periods and lower abdominal pain
  • Rashes, blisters, sores, itching sensations in the genitals or anal area
Men:
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Burning, itching, redness and red patches under the foreskin or on the tip of the penis
  • Problems pulling back the foreskin
  • Pain or a burning sensation when passing urine or during sex
  • Testicular pain or swelling
  • Rashes, blisters, sores, itching sensations in the genitals or anal area
You can talk to your Pharmacist or visit a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. These free clinics diagnose and treat STIs in complete confidence. You can visit any clinic within the UK for advice or treatment or go to your GP.
 
 
If you need further information regarding student health please visit your our Pharmacy Locator and ask your local Alphega pharmacist, for advice.
 
 
 
Sexual health infographic                                          Emergency contraception service                                                The benefits of cutting down on alcohol infographic

More Info: Student Sexual Health

 

More info: Emergency Contraception Service

     


More info: Alcohol Awareness

 

 

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