Protect your sexual health over the Christmas period

Spectrum Community Health CIC is urging residents to look after their sexual health over the festive season by being careful at a time when drinking alcohol increases with the festivities.

Alcohol can alter a person’s perception in certain situations meaning they might take more risks including not using a condom. When intoxicated it might be harder to ensure a condom is being used properly or it may not be a thought until after. This puts a person at significant risk of any unwanted consequences such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like syphilis.

If you have sex with someone and don’t use a condom, it’s important you visit your GP or Spectrum’s sexual health clinic to get a full STI screening to put your mind at ease. Spectrum’s clinical staff are friendly and non-judgmental, and can help advise you on anything you feel you may need.

Contraception helps prevent pregnancy when taken correctly, so if you’ve not used any contraception, or think your contraception method might have failed, emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) can be taken to avoid any unwanted pregnancies. EHC can be accessed from:

  • Spectrum Community Health at our Trinity Walk Clinic in Wakefield (Unit LG1A, Trinity Walk Shopping Centre, Wakefield, WF1 1QS). Drop-in clinics are offered Monday to Friday, 8.15am to 12pm. You can also book an appointment to see us – just call 0800 121 4860 or email: SHARP@spectrum-cic.nhs.uk.
  • Spectrum Community Health at our Gateway Clinic in Barnsley (Unit 1 Gateway Plaza, Sackville Street, Barnsley, S70 2RD). Drop-In clinics are offered Monday to Friday, 8.15am to 11:30m. You can also book an appointment to see us – just call 0800 055 6442 or email: Barnsley.SHARP@spectrum-cic.nhs.uk.
  • Your GP surgery.
  • Some local pharmacies but depending on the pharmacy, you may have to pay.

Here are some tips for looking after your sexual health when out drinking over the festive period:

  • If you’re ready to have sex, prepare your contraception before you go out drinking and always carry a few condoms.
  • If you’re sick within two hours of taking your contraceptive pill, it won’t have been absorbed by your body. Continue to take your pill as normal and use condoms for seven days
  • Whilst sober, discuss any boundaries you might have with your partner.
  • Don’t pressure someone into being physical with you and remember it is okay to say no.

Visit Spectrum’s campaign page for more information on where to access emergency contraception, where you can get tested for STIs, opening hours over the festive period and more tips on safe sex and alcohol: http://spectrumhealth.org.uk/campaigns/christmasandsexualhealth2017/.

For more information about Safe Sex and Alcohol, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook at SpectrumSHARP or visit www.sexual-health.co.uk.