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Sexual Health

Why is Sexual Health Important?

Equal, respectful relationships and having access to services and information, are an important part of sexual health. Sexual health risks include the risk of unplanned pregnancy and the risks of getting a sexually transmitted infection. People MAY take more risks when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

How To Help Yourself & Others

1. Don’t take chances with your sexual health. Always use condoms and dams and practice safer sex. If you’re worried about sexually transmitted infections then go and speak to a health professional. Services are available from THinK clinics / The Arch, Walk-in-Centres, GP surgeries and or a community Pharmacy. 
 
2. Recognise what is and is not a good relationship. Don’t allow others to take advantage of you in any way. If you’re not ready for sex or decide to stop or not to go through with having sex then don’t feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to. Remember choosing to not be in a relationship or waiting for the right person to time is a responsible, positive and acceptable decision to have. If your partner cares for you then they should respect your feelings.
 
3. If you’ve had unprotected sex or your regular contraception fails and you require Emergency Hormonal Contraception then go to a service that can help you as soon as possible. Even though EHC can work up to 5 days after unprotected sex it’s always best to go sooner rather than later for it to be more successful. This is also a good time to get a sexual health check and further sexual health advice.
 
4. Think about your contraception options if you’re sexually active by discussing all the various methods available with a professional health practitioner. For the best advice make an appointment with a local sexual health clinic. See further information about opening times and venues below.
 
5. If you’re a young person and need help, information advice or support concerning Sexual Health or Emergency Hormonal Contraception then help is available from local or national services (see Who Else Can Help below):


If you’re aged 15-24 and you live in Knowsley, you can request a FREE Chlamydia home postal testing kit. Simply complete the form using the link below and a test will be sent to you by post with clear instructions.

http://www.sexualhealthknowsley.nhs.uk/services/chlamydia-screening-15-24s/request-a-postal-kit/

Who Else Can Help?

There are lots of local and national organisations who can offer support, advice & guidance if you need it.

Knowsley Contraception and Sexual Health Clinics

Provide free and confidential help, specialist information, advice and treatment. For more information on clinic times and venues look at the THinK Clinic information or call 0151 244 3580 or visit www.sexualhealthknowsley.nhs.uk

Brook
Provide sexual health and advice services for young people under 25. Contact Brook Liverpool on 0151 207 4000 or visit www.brook.org.uk/

Knowsley NHS Walk-in Centres
Provide treatment for minor illnesses and injuries without an appointment. It’s a type of service that offers a convenient alternative to your GP. They are open 365 days per year and can provide Emergency Hormonal Contraception as well as pregnancy and Chlamydia testing. For more information and to find more details on centre opening times etc call:
Huyton 0151 244 3150
Kirkby 0151 244 3180
Halewood 0151 244 3532
Or go to http://www.knowsleyccg.nhs.uk/walk-in-centre/

 
Knowsley Youth Mutual
Provides services relating to young people and advice.  Free condoms are available from C-card sites across many Knowsley Youth Mutual Youth Clubs by speaking to a youth worker. For more information and to find more details on centre opening times call the following offices:
North Area (Kirkby) 0151 443 4466
Central Area (Huyton) 0151 443 5333
South Area (Prescot) 0151 443 4542
Our Place (Borough wide facility) 0151 443 5323
Or go to: www.youthmutual.co.uk

Local Pharmacies offering Emergency Hormonal Contraception

Go to: https://www.thinkknowsley.co.uk/Emergency-Contraception

1. Relationships are important!

Sex is a natural and positive aspect of any intimate relationship but it’s important to consider the right time and person to share this experience with. Relationships that are not respectful and loving and maybe abusive can lead to distress both physically and mentally. It is important to recognise the signs of an abusive relationship, which may include: pressure to have sex which is non-consensual (mutual permission not given), involves physical, mental or sexual abuse, involves risk taking including unprotected sex or drug and alcohol use, are controlling making you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable i.e. someone asking you to send naked photographs by text or over the internet. Once a picture is on the internet there is nothing you can do about it and anyone can see it including your family and friends. If you’re worried about relationship issues you can talk these through with a person you trust such as a teacher, youth worker, nurse, GP or parent.

2. Carry, talk about and use condoms!

There are many things people blame for their reasons for not using condoms such as, they’re too small, they spoil the enjoyment, allergies to latex, I’m not dirty, I forget to use them or I can’t afford them. The fact is they are all just excuses and wearing a condom is the best protection you have from preventing a sexually transmitted infection, they help against unwanted pregnancies and show you are a responsible person with your partner when you form a relationship. Keeping a condom or two safe in your pocket, or bag, is a good idea just in case they’re needed. There are many ranges of condoms from flavoured to latex free available from services, along with help, information and advice on how to use them so there is no excuse for not using them. Knowsley Youth Mutual also currently operates the C-card scheme (condom card) across Knowsley. The C-card provides young people aged 13 – 19 with free condoms, confidential advice and information after a short consultation with a youth worker.

3. Look after yourself and your reputation!

Sex with another person is something everyone thinks about at some time. It is always best to wait until the right time when the right partner comes around and you’re ready. Reputations are important and part of how others view us, which includes attraction. It’s not cool or attractive for boys or girls to have a reputation or history of sleeping around or having lots of unprotected sex. Unprotected sex increases the chance of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) such as Chlamydia and / or HIV.

4. Get tested!

If you have had unprotected sex then you could be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) so it’s best to visit your local sexual health service and get a sexual health check. Infections that can be transmitted include Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, HIV, Herpes, Warts (Human Papillomavirus or HPV), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
                                 
Testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea is free, quick and easy and needn’t be embarrassing as it’s a simple urine test. Girls can choose a self-testing swab. Boys have no need to fear the dreaded ‘umbrella’ as thankfully this is just a myth. Home testing kits are also available. In a sexual health clinic a routine screen would include a Chlamydia/gonorrhoea test and a blood test for HIV/Syphilis. Other infections would be discussed and may require the opportunity for being examined by a qualified health practitioner.  See the ways to help section for more information on testing and sexual health services.

5. Long Acting Reversible Contraception

Contraception is available in various forms from the regular pill, which has to be taken each day to reliable long acting reversible contraceptive options (LARC) such as the implant, contraceptive injection and / or IUS / IUD or coil. All LARC’s have the benefit of being 99% effective and once in place take anyway the need to think about them until they need replacing or reversing. Injections last around 12 weeks whereas the implant can work for 3 years and the coil from 5 to 10 years depending on the type. Both the implant and the coil are reversible and can be removed at any time. A health practitioner can offer confidential factual advice at a sexual health clinic concerning all LARC.

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