It’s that much awaited time of the year – Uni, college and school have come to a close and you’re out enjoying the summer weather with your friends and partners.
Whether you are chilling at home, out partying or enjoying live music at festivals, it’s important to know there is support out there for you this summer to help enjoy the sunny season knowing you’ve got the resources you need.
Staying safe during the summer is just as important as any other time of year – but you may be concerned about how to access sexual health services if you’re away from your college or campus.
But don’t worry, Essex Sexual Health Service has all the information you need to help you navigate the next few months and keep accessing the information and support you’re used to.
So, let’s take a look at what you need to know this summer.
During the summer, you’ll be away from Uni, college or school and may find accessing contraception advice and support more challenging.
We’re here to give you access to everything you may need, including oral contraception, condoms or emergency contraception (which can be used up to 5 days post unprotected sex).
Contraception can help prevent pregnancy and some can protect you against STIs. Currently, the only form of contraception which can do both is the condom.
If you are 16-24, you can get FREE condoms from Essex Sexual Health Service by using the eC-Card scheme, find out more here: https://ec-card.org.uk/.
Other forms of contraception include the contraceptive pill and long-acting reversable contraceptives (LARC).
The contraceptive pill is a method of birth control which uses synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy. More information can be found here: https://essexsexualhealthservice.org.uk/what-is-the-contraceptive-pill-and-how-do-i-access-it/
LARC is the term used to refer to a long-lasting method of birth control which helps prevent pregnancy after just one treatment. This includes, injections, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and subdermal implants – more information can be found here: https://essexsexualhealthservice.org.uk/larc/
If you need support with either, just contact us at 0300 003 1212.
How can I get STI support?
Unfortunately, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common amongst all age groups and can be passed between sexual partners during unprotected sexual contact.
There are a number of different STIs which can be spread by vaginal, anal or oral sex.
During your time off from Uni, college or school, you may be wondering where you can find information and advice about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) while you can’t access your usual sexual health services.
We have a wide range of useful articles and pages on STIs, as well as information and support on how you can get tested and treated.
If you think you may have an STI, our FREE self-testing kits make it quick and easy to find out.
When you register on the online portal, you can request your self-testing kit and one will be sent discreetly to your chosen address.
You will then be able to test yourself for most common STIs and receive your results in just a few days.
Where can I get sexual health support this summer?
While you’re away from Uni, college or school you may be wondering how you can access general sexual health services and support.
Our online portal is a simple and super easy way to book and alter appointments with sexual health clinics and professionals, order and track STI self-testing kits and manage your personal information.
If you are aged over 25 and living in Essex (excluding Southend), you can also use the online portal to get free condoms. These can either be discreetly sent to your chosen address by mail or collected from a local clinic.
If you are aged 16 to 24 you can’t use this service through – but you can access free condoms through the eC-Card app which is available to download from Google Play or the Apple App Store.
So, you can rest assured that you have access to sexual health services any time of the day this summer.
How can we help?
It’s important to remember that even when school’s out, there’s still resources available to you for any need you may have, including free condoms, self-testing kits and appointments with a professional.
Essex Sexual Health Service is delivered by a wide range of partners across the county. We offer a variety of services at a number of clinics and retail pharmacies, which you can visit during the summer months for sexual health advice.
We have everything you need to keep you and your sexual partners protected. All you need to do is ask and our friendly team will help however we can.
Alternatively, for more ways to get in touch and find your nearest clinic visit: https://essexsexualhealthservice.org.uk/contact/