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Looking after your sexual elf has never been easier...

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 your sex life.

Carrying condoms is a responsible thing to do. If you are choosing to have sex it means you won't have to rely on someone else to have a condom. You will also be encourageing and empowering friends by showing them that it's ok to carry condoms and remind people that no one judges you for doing so. 

Using a condom each time you have sex is a must for happy and healthy sex. 

Condoms help:

Condoms 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. 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).

Remember, 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.

Contraception - plan ahead

If you take the contraception pill daily plan ahead.

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 pill supply will last you.  If not, visit a clinic this week so you can be assured of not taking risks over Christmas - clinic opening times over Christmas and New Year.

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

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.

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

Taking risks - to test is best

Taken a contraceptive risk?

If you feel you have taken a contraceptive risk, it's important you take 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 it's more effective the earlier it is taken.

You can access emergency contraception 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 STIs 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. Free testing is also available in all of our clinics, which are now a mix of walk-in and wait slots and pre-booked appointments. 

Remember, we’re running limited clinics over the festive season so make sure you check out our Christmas and New Year timetable.

Safer sex...didn't really go to plan?

Worried about condom use?

If you've used a condom, but it's split or come off during sex, or if you simply can't remember emergency contraception (EHC) can prevent pregnancy. It can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Emergency contraception – sometimes known as the ‘morning after pill’ - is not a regular form of contraception, so we always advise you choose a more reliable method of contraception.

We can help you chose the best method of contraception for you and guide you through your options. Take a look at the different methods of contraception we offer.

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. Free testing is also available in all of our clinics, which are now a mix of walk-in and wait slots and pre-booked appointments.

Remember, 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.

Drinking... know your limits

It's important to know your limits.

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've been drinking you may be less cautious of having sex or choosing who to have sex with, often resulting in a regret the next day or when the effects of alcohol have worn off.

We know Christmas is a time when people go to parties and on nights out and perhaps drink more alcohol, but if you drink responsibly and pace yourself you will have much more fun and stay in control. Alternate alcoholic drinks 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.

Safety - stick together, be safe

Safety in numbers.

Stay safe when you are out with your friends and keep together. Don’t leave people behind with strangers or in unfamiliar environments. Make sure phones are fully charged in case you or your friend lose each other 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. Remember to text your friends when you get home to let them 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 a 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 - 1 in 10 young people tested in Wirral had chlamydia

Did you know in Wirral, 1 in 10 people aged 15-24 tested have chlamydia?

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). 

Most people with chlamydia don't notice any symptoms and don't know they have it which is why it's passed on so frequently. Often people will have a routine test and are shocked to find out they have tested positive for chlamydia. You can have sex with someone just once and have the infection.

The good news is that 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:

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.

Remember, we’re running limited clinics over the festive season so make sure you check out our Christmas and New Year timetable.

HIV - what's your status

Do you know your HIV status?

We find that lots of people rule themselves out as having been at risk of HIV, but the truth is if you've ever had sex then you should get tested.

Everybody has an HIV status:

  • negative
  • positive
  • untested

If you are ‘untested’ - have a routine HIV test so you know your status 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 - clear instructions are provided, along with a freepost envelope for you to return your sample to the laboratory for testing. 

Request your HIV 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.

Consent - No, your say is final

No means No!

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

Doing something sexual with another person without their consent is sexual assault or rape.

Smear test -are you up to date?

Smear tests save lives.

All women aged 25-64 who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for a smear test (cervical screening) at different times in their lives:

  • 25-49 years - invitation every 3 years 
  • 50-64 years - invitation every 5 years
  • over 65 - only women who haven't been screened since age 50 or those who have recently had abnormal tests

Smear tests are really important as they are a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix (entrance to the womb from the vagina).

The test is painless, but can sometimes feel a little uncomfortable, but the health professional carrying out your test will be really experienced and will help put you at ease.

Your GP is you main access to having your routine smear test. If you are eligible and have not received an invitation to attend a smear test please contact your GP practice to discuss. Or, if you are due or overdue your smear test, please book appointment with your practice nurse.

A man MOT - check your health and your bits

Getting to know you. 

A lot of men don't like talking about their health and wellbeing, especially when it comes to sexual health.

Staying sexually healthy is about:

  • having a positive approach to your body
  • knowing your bits
  • knowing 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 - this is 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.

Looking for changes:

  • Hold your scrotum in the palm of your hand and look for changes in the heaviness, shape or size of your testicles
  • Examine each of your testicles, using your hands to roll them between your thumbs and fingers. They should feel smooth

Remember, it’s normal for one testicle to hang lower than the other.

If something does not feel or look right to you pop into one of our clinics where one of our nurses or doctors can examine you and check anything that is causing you worry. It may be nothing and we can reassure you, but some STIs can cause swelling of the testicles and pain when having a wee. You may need to take an STI test and subsequent antibiotics may be needed.

Our approach to inclusion - there should be no barriers to accessing support for your sexual health and wellbeing

Getting it right for everyone.

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.

Our clinics run Monday - Friday, 8.00am - 8.00pm, and are held in 5 community venues across Wirral with parking onsite or nearby. We also have a clinic every Saturday. All clinics are accessible via 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
  • 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