Sex can be a positive, pleasurable and life enhancing part of our experience and sexual health is central to everyone’s health. Both men and women need to look after their sexual health and take time to understand the issues that surround contraception and sexually transmitted infections – STIs.
Somerset-Wide Integrated Sexual Health Service has been designed as a one stop shop and offers a free and confidential service for patients who have or are concerned about sexually acquired infections and offer a full range of contraceptive methods.
The SWISH service has a dedicated website that lists useful information, and all clinic locations and times, and offers a range of appointments as well as ‘walk in, sit and wait’ clinics.
Emergency Contraception Pill
The sooner you take emergency contraception the better it will work.
There are two kinds of the emergency contraceptive pill – these are sometimes called the ‘morning after pill’.
Levonogestrel (Levonelle) can be taken up to 96 hours – 4 days – after unprotected sex. This pill is the one many pharmacies can provide free. Ulipristal Acetate (ellaOne) can be taken up to 120 hours – 5 days – after unprotected sex. This pill is available at the SWISH Services. Both pills work by preventing or delaying ovulation.
You can get emergency contraception from
- Your GP
- SWISH Services
- Many Pharmacists
- Minor Injury Units
Copper intrauterine device – IUD
You can choose to have an IUD – coil – fitted, the IUD is a small device that is fitted in your uterus by a specially trained doctor or nurse. It is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy but it needs to be fitted within five days – 120 hours – of unprotected sex or up to five days after the earliest time you could have released an egg – ovulated.
You can have an IUD fitted for emergency contraception at most GP surgeries and it’s also available at SWISH Services.
Chlamydia can affect anyone, however, 1 in 12 sexually active young people between 15 and 24 will have chlamydia. The SWISH website gives more information and how to access a free screening kit.
The Eddystone Trust is an independent organisation providing targeted prevention work and sexual health promotion, and provides information and support for anyone affected by HIV in Somerset. They are also part of the SWISH Services.