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Sexual elf tips

Sexual Health Wirral presents...

The 12 days of Christmas

Click on each of the boxes below to reveal our elf's festive top tips...

 

Condoms - the one accessory you can’t be without this festive season

Make sure you carry condoms with you, this makes sure you are in charge of their sex life and taking care of your body, your sexual health and your future.

Carrying condoms means that you can always be confident and not have to rely on someone else to have a condom with them if you are choosing to have sex. You also encourage and empower friends by showing them that it is OK to carry condoms and remind people that no one judges them for doing so.

Using a condom each time you have sex is a must for happy and healthy sex. Condoms help prevent against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy and are free at any of our walk-in and wait clinics*. To make sure you use a condom correctly and effectively read more about condom tips and watch our condom demonstration video.

If the condom splits, emergency contraception sometimes known as the 'morning after pill' can help prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Emergency contraception is available from all of our clinics and our partner pharmacies. Remember, we’re running limited clinics over the festive season so make sure you check out our Christmas and New Year timetable.

Call 0300 123 5474 or follow this link for partnership pharmacy opening times during Christmas and New Year. The sooner you take emergency contraception after unprotected sex, the more effective it will be. Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

*Please note our walk-in and wait slots are limited and can occasionally incur a 2 hour wait.

If you take the pill daily for contraception plan ahead and make sure you have enough left in your pack to cover you over the festive season. There will be very limited clinics open for you to get your top up – so check now and make sure your current supply will last you.  If not access a clinic this week so you can be assured of not taking risks over Christmas.

Remember to take your pill on time. With Christmas being a busy time of parties and social visits why not set a reminder on your phone or leave yourself a note to ensure you don’t forget to take your pill at your set time.

If you miss a pill or develop a stomach bug (vomiting or diahorrea) your pill may be affected and you will need to take extra precautions. Read more about the pill.

If you are visiting family or friends or jetting off over the festive season remember to pack your pills.

If you feel you have taken a contraceptive risk then it is important you access emergency contraception (EHC) as soon as possible . The 'morning after pill', as it is sometimes know, can actually  be taken up to 72 hours  after unprotected sex, but is more effective the earlier it is taken. You can access EHC at any of our clinics or partner pharmacies. We’re running limited clinics over the festive season so make sure you check out our Christmas and New Year timetable. For partnership pharmacy opening times during Christmas and New Year call 0300 123 5474.

If you've exposed yourself to the risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) we strongly recommend you get tested for some of the common STI's that sometimes don’t have symptoms. It can take 2 weeks for the infection to show up on a sample , so if your test is negative we always recommend a second test a couple of weeks later to be sure.

The quickest and easiest way to get tested is to request a free and discreet STI postal test kit online. Free testing is also available in all of our appointment and walk-in wait clinics*. Remember, we’re running limited clinics over the festive season so make sure you check out our Christmas and New Year timetable.

If you used a condom, but it split or came off during sex, or if you simply cannot remember then Emergency Contraception can prevent pregnancy and can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. EHC – sometimes known as the 'morning after pill' is not a regular form of contraception so we always advice you choose a more reliable method of contraception. We can help you see what method is best for you and guide you through your options. Our website has information and leaflets on the many different choices.

You should also take an STI test. The quickest and easiest way to get tested is to request a free and discreet STI postal test kit online. Free testing is also available in all of our appointment and walk-in wait clinics.

Please note our walk-in and wait slots are limited and can occasionally incur a 2 hour wait. Click here for partnership pharmacy opening times during Christmas and New Year or call 0300 123 5474.

It's a known fact that when we drink too much alcohol we act differently and take risks we wouldn’t otherwise take. If you have been drinking you may be less cautious of having sex or choosing who to have sex with – often causing regret the following day or when the effects of alcohol have worn off.

We know Christmas is a time when people go to parties, nights out etc and perhaps drink more alcohol - but if you drink responsibly and pace yourself you will have much more fun and stay in control. Alternate alcohol with soft drinks – this can make a difference. 

If you feel you have drunk too much, avoid placing yourself in a vulnerable position - stay with friends and let them know how you are feeling so they can look after you and help keep you safe until you get home. Do not wander off on your own.

Stay safe when you are out with your friends – keep together and don’t leave people behind with strangers or in unfamiliar environment. Make sure your phones are charged up in case you lose a friend along the way – that way you can check on each other. If you’re getting a taxi home always pair up and use a registered/approved licensed taxi, remembering to text, message each other when you get home to let your group know you are safe.

Hopefully you’ll have a great and safe time over the holidays, but sexual assault and rape can and does happen. If you experience sexual assault or rape it’s important that you access help and support in confidence. SAFE Place Merseyside is local organisation offering confidential support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can speak to one of their trained crisis workers on 0151 295 3550

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK. It's passed on from one person to another through unprotected sex (sex without a condom) and in Wirral we find 1 in 10 people aged 15-24 tested have Chlamydia.

Most people with chlamydia don't notice any symptoms and don't know they have it which is how it is passed on so frequently. Often people will have a routine test and are shocked to find they test positive for Chlamydia. You can have sex with somebody just once and be passed this infection.

The good news Chlamydia is very easy to test for (urine in men and a self-taken swab for women) , and very easy to treat if found.  The important part is getting yourself tested so you can be sure.

Although chlamydia doesn’t always cause any symptoms, if left untreated, the infection can lead to long-term health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), epididymoorchitis (inflammation of the testicles) and infertility.

The only way to find out if you have chlamydia is to be tested. Testing is free, easy and confidential. We recommend that each time you change your sexual partner you get tested, even if you are using condoms. We strongly advise taking a test if you are aware that a previous sexual partner may have had the infection.

Chlamydia testing is available from any of our walk-in and wait and appointment clinics - for men this is a simple urine test and for women usually a self-taken swab. If you fit the criteria* and are happy not to see a health professional you may be offered a fast track test.

All Wirral GPs also offer chlamydia testing.

We find that lots of people rule themselves out as having been at risk of HIV, but the truth is if you have ever had sex then you should get tested. Everybody has an HIV status – negative, positive or untested. If you are 'untested'  - move yourself into negative by having a routine HIV test so you know for sure. You can book to have a confidential HIV test at any of our clinics or if you live in Wirral and are aged 16+ you can request a FREE NHS postal test kit that will include a self-screening test for HIV. The kit will require you to take a spot test of blood from your finger, however clear instructions are provided in the kit with a freepost envelope for you to return your sample to the laboratory for testing. Request your test today.

The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is by anal or vaginal sex without a condom. There is also a risk of transmission through oral sex, but this is much lower.  

Sexual consent means actively agreeing to take part in a sexual activity. This might be kissing, touching, oral sex, vaginal sex or anal sex.

Getting and giving consent before taking part in any sexual activity with a partner means you can both be sure that the sexual activity is wanted and agreed to. Sexual consent means actively agreeing to take part in a sexual activity; this might be kissing, touching, oral sex, vaginal sex or anal sex.

Getting and giving consent before taking part in any sexual activity with a partner means you can both be sure that the sexual activity is wanted and agreed to and gives you an opportunity to discuss any risks. Doing something sexual with another person without their consent is sexual assault or rape.

Start 2019 as you mean to go on! All women aged 25-64 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for cervical screening (a smear test) at different times of their lives.

If you are aged 25-49 – every 3 years and aged 50-64 – every 5 years

Cervical screening (also known as Smear Test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix (entrance to the womb from the vagina) and is a really important part of being a women. The test is painless but can sometimes feel a little uncomfortable – but all of our nurses are really experienced and will help out you at ease.

Your GP is you main access to having your routine smear test , but our clinic can offer you an appointment if you are overdue your test, struggling to see you GP or Practice Nurse or if you are particularly worried or anxious about having a smear test.

We can only carry out smear tests if you have received your invite letter.

We know many men don't like talking about their health and wellbeing, especially when it comes to sexual health but staying sexually healthy is about having a positive approach to your body and knowing your bits and when something is wrong.

We always recommend you should check yourself regularly and look for any lumps, swellings or hard areas. One lump should be there - the epididymis - It's at the top and back of each of your testicles. You should still look for other lumps too as testicular cancer is this most common cancer for men under the age of 35.

If you hold your scrotum in the palm of your hand and look for changes in the heaviness, shape or size of your testicles, and it’s normal for one testicle to hang lower than the other. Examine each of your testicles, using your hands to roll them between your thumbs and fingers. They should feel smooth.

If something does not feel right or look right to you – pop into our clinics where one of our nurses or doctors can examine you and check anything that is causing you worry. It may nothing and we can reassure you, but some STI’s can cause swelling of the testicles and pain when having a wee – so it may be that testing and subsequent antibiotics are needed .

Our services are free, confidential, friendly and supportive. You can access our clinics by choosing to walk in and wait or book an appointment in advance – check out our timetable to see what session suits you best. We have clinics 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and on a Saturday. Our clinics are held at 5 community based venues across Wirral with parking onsite or nearby – or accessed by most major bus routes

If you are aged 19 or under you can access our young people's clinic which offers confidential help, advice and services for young people at Brook in central Birkenhead.

Sexual Health Wirral is more than just a clinic. We also offer:

  • telephone consultations for advice
  • online booking for appointments at a time to suit you
  • free postal testing kits- chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV (16+ only)
  • interpreters (to be booked in advance)
  • weekend and evening clinics
  • psychosexual service (referral only)
  • specialist doctor led clinics
  • easy read materials (available upon request )
  • emergency contraception and sexual health support from our partner pharmacies
  • long acting reversible contraception (LARC) and sexual health support from our partner GPs

Additional needs

Sexual Health and Wellbeing is important for everyone. We understand that some of our patients may need additional support to help them when accessing our service. If you, a family member or somebody you care for has any additional needs or learning difficulties our Link Team can provide support.

Carers and health professionals are welcome to talk to us about their patients and the possibility of arranging a consultation with the Link Team.

To speak to the Link Team please call 0151 514 6471.

We also provide information about contraception and sexual health in easy read format. Take a look at our easy read leaflets

Look after your sexual elf