Young people's sexual health FAQs
Q. Why do I need sexual health advice?
A. You don’t have to be having sex to ask for advice. It's better to know the facts before you may need them.
It’s particularly important to sort out contraception before even thinking about having sex.
There are 13 different kinds of contraception, some you need to take every day or use every time you have sex and others are longer lasting. To find out which method is right for you, you can talk in confidence to:
- Young persons’ clinic
- Community contraceptive clinic
- School nurse
There are other places that will offer advice and help. Access sexual health services in Camden
Q. What is an STI?
A. A Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) can be passed from person to person through unprotected sex. Condoms are the only type of contraception that can protect you against STIs including HIV (if they are used correctly).
Some STIs might not have any signs or symptoms, so you might have an infection without even knowing about it. If you are having sex, it is best to have regular check-ups. Most STIs are easily treated, but if left untreated they can lead to serious problems, like infertility.
Chlamydia is the most common STI. It usually has no symptoms, but is easily treated. A simple, painless test for Chlamydia is now available free for people under 25. Go to www.urLife.org.uk for details of young people’s sexual health clinics which can provide you with a test or request a test from your GP.
Q. Where are the contraceptive clinics and infection screening clinics?
A. There are numerous places in Camden where you can get information about Sexual Health either over the phone or in person. You can call “Worth Talking About” on 0800 28 29 30, ask questions online or via text through trusted websites like www.brook.org.uk or www.tht.org.uk/howwecanhelpyou/youngpeople or get directions to local young people friendly services at www.urlife.org.uk
Q. Where can I get free condoms?
A. There are many places in Camden where young people under the age of 25 can access free condoms these include:
- GUM clinics
- Young People’s Sexual Health Clinics
- Contraceptive/Family Planning Clinics
You can also buy condoms at a low cost through the Freedoms shop website www.freedoms-shop.com
Q. Had unprotected sex? Split condom? Don’t panic. You have options.
A. If you have had sex without using contraception or think your contraception hasn’t worked, you can take an emergency hormonal contraceptive (EHC) pill (aka "morning after pill").
The EHC pill will usually prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours (three days) of having sex. It‘s more effective the earlier you take it after unprotected sex. If it is more than 72 hours since having sex, there might still be options but you will need to see your GP or a local sexual health service.
EHC is free from your GP, family planning clinic, some pharmacies, sexual health clinics and in exceptional circumstances, from hospitals’ A&E. Camden has 18 young-people friendly pharmacies that can offer advice on emergency contraception, look out for the pink urLife stickers in the windows.
Q. What is an IUD?
A. An intra-uterine device (IUD) can be fitted as EHC to prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex and is also more effective the earlier you have it fitted after unprotected sex.
If it is more than five days since having sex, there may still be options but you would need to see your GP or one of the local services.
Q. Think you might be pregnant?
A. If you think you may be pregnant, do a pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests can tell whether you are pregnant once your period is five days late.
You can get a pregnancy test:
- Free from your GP, contraceptive clinics or other sexual health services
- Or, buy a kit from any pharmacy. Some will do the test for you, for a fee if you take a small sample of urine with you (taken ‘mid-stream’ first thing that morning - ie in the middle part of your pee).
If you are pregnant and you want to talk to someone about your options, you can visit any young people's sexual health service, community contraceptive clinic, or your GP.
Q. Where can I get abortion services?
A. If you are pregnant and you want to have an abortion (aka "termination of pregnancy"), the sooner you get in touch with one of the services, the better. If you are under 16 you should be seen very quickly.
An NHS abortion is free. You can be referred to an abortion clinic by your GP, a young people’s clinic or a community contraceptive clinic.
If you live in Camden or Islington you can also refer yourself by calling:
- Camden and Islington Central booking line: 0845 300 2922 - lines open 24-hours
For more information on aborting a pregnancy visit www.mariestopes.org.uk
Q. Do you just need to talk?
A. For general advice about sex, STIs, puberty and contraception there are several services you can contact.
- Sexwise: Call: 0800 28 29 30
For information about sexual health clinics outside Camden visit http://www.urlife.org.uk/