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Don’t get any unwanted presents this Christmas - look after your sexual health

Thursday, 10 July, 2014
Don’t get any unwanted presents this Christmas – look after your sexual health

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is urging young people across Northumberland and North Tyneside to avoid any unwanted presents this Christmas by looking after their sexual health.

 
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancies don’t stop for Christmas and a range of local sexual health services are available to support young people during the festivities.  
 
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust took over the management of sexual health services in April 2011 and is keen to make sure that young people across Northumberland and North Tyneside know exactly how to look after their sexual health with the right NHS help and support.  
 
Services include local clinics which provide contraception, testing and treatment for STIs including Chlamydia, free condom supplies under the C Card scheme, pregnancy tests and emergency contraception under Plan B. 
 
Dr Helen McIlveen, North Tyneside Sexual Health Services Manager at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:  
 
“Our main message to young people over the festive period is to make sure they take care of their sexual health and use robust contraception and condoms. 
 
“Alcohol levels can create situations that you did not intend to happen and risk of sexual assault also becomes much higher. If you have had unprotected sex or a condom has spilt, there is a chance of an unplanned pregnancy, a STI or even HIV.  
 
“Free oral emergency contraception can help prevent unplanned pregnancies and is available from pharmacies across Northumberland and North Tyneside throughout the Christmas holidays – simply ask over the counter. 
 
“Outside of bank holidays other local services are available to help any young people who may be worried about their sexual health and need confidential advice.”
 
Northumbria Healthcare’s sexual health service is based from the One to One Centre in Shiremoor, North Tyneside, and the Carlton Street Clinic in Blyth, Northumberland. There is a range of walk-in services and appointments available to meet everyone’s needs.
 
A wide range of clinics are also held out in the community, including GP practices, schools and community centres, to make it as easy as possible for young people to get the support they need.  Most services are also able to give advice over the phone.
 
Sue Bellamy, Northumberland Sexual Health Services Manager at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust added: 
 
“Young people are more aware today of the risks of STIs like Chlamydia, but we have also seen a significant increase in cases of gonorrhoea particularly in the South East of Northumberland.  
 
 “Although our main clinics and drop in sessions will be closed during the festive Bank Holidays, there are still other ways people can access immediate help and confidential advice about sexual health concerns either at their local pharmacy, or by contacting NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
 
“We would urge all sexually active young people to take a sexual health test when clinics reopen after Christmas.  People without symptoms of infection can now have a ‘Quick Screen’ where no examination is required.”
 
For Christmas and New Year pharmacy opening times visit: http://www.northoftyne.nhs.uk/services/bank-holiday-opening-times-choose-well 
 
Details of all Northumbria Healthcare’s sexual health clinics are available at
http://www.northumbria.nhs.uk/our-services/community/sexual-health-service 
 
Sexual health services provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust include:
  • Contraceptive advice 
  • Free condoms, emergency contraception and long acting reversible contraception (implant, coil, or three-monthly injection)
  • Genito-urinary medicine services (GUM)
  • Screening for sexually transmitted infections including Chlamydia 
  • HIV testing
  • Hepatitis screening
  • Psychosexual therapy
  • Counselling 
  • Vasectomies
  • Pregnancy decision making/options service
  • Support, advice and counselling
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