With the weather warming up and the summer holidays fast approaching, Lancashire’s Contraception and Sexual Health Service is encouraging people to practice safe sex this summer to help prevent unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The service is reminding young people of the importance of looking after their health this summer which includes protecting themselves from UV rays, keeping an eye on alcohol intake and practising safe sex.
In 2015 there were over 435,000 new STI diagnoses in England, with under 25s experiencing the highest rates of Chlamydia, genital herpes and genital warts. In 2014, 1 in 10 young people who took a Chlamydia test in Lancashire tested positive for the infection. Chlamydia often has no signs or symptoms so it is really important that if people who have put themselves at risk get tested.
Sue Capstick, Contraception and Sexual Health Service Manager at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“The summer sees a high volume of under 25s visiting holiday destinations and festivals and the message from the service is have fun, stay safe and take precautions so you don’t bring back any unwanted souvenirs. At this time of year we see an increase of under 25s visiting our clinics for screenings, so it’s all the more important to get the message across to people that good condom use is an effective way of helping to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
“It is also a great opportunity to encourage people to talk about contraception and good sexual health. Not all infections have symptoms and it is essential people are encouraged to get tested in order to get treated. Our aim is that young people are not afraid to talk about and take charge of their own sexual health. In partnership with Brook we provide a range of confidential services, offering testing and treatment of STIs, contraception and non-judgmental advice and support when needed the most.”
The Contraception and Sexual Health Team (CaSH) at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Brook, provides sexual health services to young people under 25 across Lancashire and to people off all ages within Blackburn with Darwen.
To contact your local Contraception and Sexual Health Team and book an appointment or find out about our ‘drop ins’ please call 01772 401140, the service is free and accessible to everyone. There are clinics in various locations and different session times across Lancashire. To find out more about services in your area, please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/cash-lancashire.
Condoms are available for free from any of our clinics and you do not need to book an appointment. Young people can also access free condoms from any ‘Wrapped’ condom distribution site. Under 25s can also order free Chlamydia self-testing kits online by visiting www.best2know.co.uk.