Unless you and your partner have decided to try for a baby you need to seriously think about contraception. Whether you’re in a long term relationship, embarking on your first sexual encounter or considering a one night stand, contraception is something you need to think about and more importantly use.
If used correctly, contraception can prevent unwanted pregnancy and, depending on the type used, sexually transmitted diseases. It is imperative that both men and women take their sexual health seriously. If you need to talk or want advice go to the Union Welfare or speak to your doctor.
If you think that you might be pregnant, Airthrey Medical centre or a Family Planning Clinic can carry out a pregnancy test, you can also buy self testing kits over the counter from the Campus Pharmacy. If you think you might have a STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection), get treatment immediately. There is not need to be embarrassed - it’ll only get worse if you leave it, so make an appointment with a GUM (Genito-Urinary Clinic) no matter what it is they’ll have seen it before!
And remember if you don’t feel ready for sex - don’t! This applies to men and women. If you’re sexually active you should know exactly what you are letting yourself in for. Ignorance is no longer an excuse, every time you have sex you should be as safe as possible.
The Airthrey Park Medical centre also offers Sexual Health Surgeries, 9am -10.30am you can make an appointment to discuss family planning advice, sexually transmitted infections, relationships and sexuality issues.
Don’t take risks -it isn’t worth it. Condoms are available free from the SUSA office and from the medical centre. There are also vending machines in Halls and in the Robbins. So cost and availability are no excuse for you not to use them.
Condoms are between 85-95% effective, if used properly, if in doubt read the instructions and take your time. For extra protection you can also use spermicide. Do not use oil based lubricant (such as Vaseline) as they can cause a condom to split and degrade within just a few minutes. This is probably the best type of contraception for anyone who practices casual sex or is uncertain about using other methods of contraception.
Condoms also provide protection against HIV, many STIs, genital infections and cervical cancer. Remember to use condoms which carry the British Standards Institution ‘Kite Mark’ and check the use-by dates. And in case you’d forgotten you can get free condoms from the Union. Also if you or your partner are allergic to laxex, the Union can provide some non-latex condoms.
This is the most popular contraception for women. It is reasonably easy and convenient to use and can help alleviate period pain. However you must take it correctly and consistently, if you miss it, that could lead to pregnancy. The combined Pill, containing oestrogen and progesterone, is over 99% effective. The mini pill, containing progesterone only, is 98% effective when taken properly. You must make yourself aware of possible risks and side effects of The Pill, your doctor should discuss these with you but you can also collect information from the Union.
The Diaphragm (Cap) and Spermicide
98% effective, when correctly used. A diaphragm is a soft rubber device which is inserted into the vagina before sex to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, it can be used with spermicide as an extra precaution. It should also be checked by a doctor every six months.
The Coil (IUD - Intra Uterine Device)
The Coil is a small copper device which is inserted into the womb by a doctor and it is 96 -99% effective when used correctly, although it is not normally used by women who have never been pregnant.
The Rhythm Method
This technique tries to predict when a women is producing an egg and therefore when she is at her most fertile. This requires keeping record of lots of factors, like vaginal secretions, to be effective.
Contraceptive Injections (Depo-Provero)
These synthetic hormones are injected into a muscle every 12 weeks and are slowly released into the body which stops ovulation. It is 99% effective and may be suitable for women who can’t use the combined pill.
If things go wrong emergency help is available. The Morning After Pill can be taken up to 72 hours after intercourse but sooner is better. It should only be used in case of emergency and is available from your GP, Family Planning Clinic, hospital or free from the campus pharmacy.
Useful phone numbers
Airthrey Medical Centre - 01786 463831
British Pregnancy Advisory Service - 0845 7304030
Brooks Advisory Service - 0800 0185023
Campus Pharmacy - 01786 463303
SISS - 01786 467080
Scottish AIDs Helpline - 0800 567123
Students Union Welfare - 01786 467166