What now?

Sexual health clinics

It's just as important to have a regular STI check as it is to go to the dentist regularly. You can have all the tests you need to, FREE and in confidence at a Sexual Health Clinic. If you have had unprotected sex there is a high chance you have come into contact with a sexually transmitted infection, and some STI’s have no signs or symptoms. For peace of mind book an appointment or pop along to a drop in clinic.

Click here to find the nearest clinic to you.

Contraception

There are lots of different types of contraception to choose from, we will help you find one that works best for you and your lifestyle. The best way to get it right is to speak to a health professional for advice. Remember your chosen contraception will not protect you against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) you still need to use a condom. For FREE confidential advice you can make an appointment to discuss the right contraception for you at www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health or call 01536 493230 to find the nearest place to you.

 

Below is a list of different methods of contraception. You may wish to speak to health professional about the right one for you.

Implant (LARC)

A small, flexible rod which is placed just under the service of the skin. Contains the hormone progestogen.

Effectiveness and Advantages

Over 99% effective.

Rapidly reversible method of contraception

Lasts up to 3 years

Useful for women who forget to take the pill

Disadvantages

Many women have changes in their menstrual pattern

Insertion and removable must be performed by trained healthcare professionals

Injection (LARC)

Injection containing the hormone progestogen. Injection into a muscle every 8 or 12 weeks.

Effectiveness and Advantages

Over 99% effective.

Useful for women who forget to take the pill

Disadvantages

Cannot be immediately reversed in event of side effects

Many women have changes in their menstrual pattern

Can take some time for fertility to return to normal.

IUD (also known as the coil)

Intrauterine device that is fitted into the womb.

Effectiveness and Advantages

 98-99% effective.

Useful for women who want longer-term contraception or do not want to take hormones.

Useful for women who forget to take the pill

Disadvantages

Periods may become heavier, longer and more painful

Insertion and removable must be performed by trained healthcare professionals

 

Intrauterine system (IUS) (LARC)

Intrauterine device that is fitted into the womb

Effectiveness and Advantages

Over 99% effective.

Lasts up to 5 years

Rapidly reversible methods of contraception.

Useful for women who forget to take the pill

Disadvantages

Many women have changes in their menstrual pattern.

Insertion and removable must be performed by trained healthcare professionals

Condom/female condom

A barrier method that a man or woman can use.

Effectiveness and Advantages

When used correctly, around 98% for male condoms and 95% for female condoms.

Avoids hormones

Offers protection against sexually transmitted infections (STI)

Disadvantages

Putting them on involves interruption.

The male condom can split or rupture.

The female condom can be pushed aside.

Contraception ring

A ring that releases the hormones oestrogen and progestogen.

Effectiveness and Advantages

99% or more when used correctly

Inserted into the vagina for 3 weeks in every month.

Disadvantages

Not suitable for women with conditions such as high blood pressure.

Unsuitable for women over 35 who smoke

Patch

Patch containing the hormones oestrogen and progestogen.

Effectiveness and Advantages

99% or more when used correctly

Applied once a week for 3 weeks

Disadvantages

May be seen on the skin

Not suitable for women with conditions such as high blood pressure.

Unsuitable for women over 35 who smoke

 

STI's

An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, which is a bacterial or viral infection that can be spread through sexual contact. This doesn't just mean unprotected sex (sex without a condom) it can be passed on through oral sex too. Here is some useful information on the most common STI's, for more detailed information visit www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most common STI amongst 16-24 year olds and it doesn't always have signs or symptoms so you may not know you have it! The best way to know is to take a test.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Heavy period or bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic and lower abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain during vaginal sex
  • Bleeding during or after sex

For more detailed information and to find out where to get tested visit www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is much like Chlamydia in that you don’t always have signs or symptoms. If you’re a women aged between 16-24 you are at greater risk. The best way to know is to take the test.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Thin white, yellow or green discharge from the vagina
  • Frequent need to wee
  • Pain when weeing
  • In rare cases lower stomach pain

For more detailed information and to find out where to get tested visit www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health

Syphilis

Syphilis is less common than the other STI’s however the signs and symptoms can be very mild and can go unnoticed making it easily passed on.

Signs and symptoms:

Syphilis can develop in three stages:

  • 1st stage: called primary syphilis
  • 2nd stage: called secondary syphilis
  • 3rd or latent stage: called tertiary syphilis.

1st) Primary symptoms start with a painless sore, usually on or near the vagina , but sometimes in the mouth or anus.

2nd) Secondary symptoms may include a rash on the body and flu-like symptoms.

3rd) Tertiary syphilis is very rare in the UK and you are not likely to experience it

 

For more detailed information and to find out where to get tested visit www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is most common if you are aged 20 and over. The virus which causes genital herpes is similar to the one that causes cold sores on the lips and mouth, they can look very similar.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Sores or blisters over the vagina or anus
  • Stinging or tingling in the genital or anal area
  • Feeling flu-like with a fever, swollen glands, tiredness and headache
  • Pain in the lower back, or down the back of the legs

For more detailed information and to find out where to get tested visit www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health

HPV/Genital warts

Genital warts are most common for women aged 20-24. Genital warts are caused by some strains of what is known as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It is a very common STI and can be present without showing any signs or symptoms; the best way to know is seek medical advice.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Small fleshy growths or bumps which can be anywhere in the genital area
  • Warts are not always visible, especially if they occur inside the vagina, particularly on the cervix, or in the anus
  • Warts can appear in different ways for different people, so if you notice any changes at all it’s important to get checked out.

For more detailed information and to find out where to get tested visit www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health (click through)

HIV

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV damages the body’s immune system making it unable to fight off infections. HIV is on the increase and the symptoms are similar to those of flu and can sometimes be mistaken however not everyone will experience symptoms. If you have had unprotected sex you should take the test.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Swollen glands, a sore throat or mouth, coating on the tongue, aching joints and a fever. 
  • It’s easy to mistake these symptoms for flu but if you do experience all of these symptoms at the same time after you have put yourself at risk it’s important to get checked.

For more detailed information and find out where to get tested visit www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health

C-Card

It's quick and easy to get FREE condoms and lubricant through the C-Card scheme. C-Card is a FREE and confidential condom service for young people under 25 across Northamptonshire. Condoms are the simplest way to take care of yourself and your partner when you have sex, and help you have safer sex by reducing the chances of pregnancy and/or getting a STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection). If you're under 25 you can get FREE condoms from a number of different pick up points Go to www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health to find the nearest place to get free condoms.

Visit: www.nhft.nhs.uk/sexual-health Or Call: 01536 493 230