By Kirby Evans
It’s 2016 and sex is still regarded as a taboo subject. Although the media has commercialised it, and you might brag to your friends about last night’s catch, the topic of conversation is very rarely concerned with safety, smear tests or HPV. This is not a scare tactic. By all means, sex is great, (especially safe sex), but at university with hormones and alcohol flying around, it’s easy to forget the basic necessities.
Most people are aware of what it means to have safe sex, but here are a few refresher tips:
· Condoms and other barrier methods (‘femidom?’ I hear you shout) are the only way to ensure there is no transmission of STDs.
· Most contraception can’t guarantee 100% success rate in preventing an unwanted pregnancy.
· Limit the risk of STDs and STIs by limiting the number of people you are having intercourse with.
· Asking ‘have you been tested for chlamydia’ is a bit of a mood killer, and people aren’t always keen to offer up this kind of info, but positive test results the next week will certainly complicate things further.
· A lot of STDs and STIs show little or no symptoms, so can go unnoticed for a long time.
· Even oral sex has its risks; gonorrhoea, Hep B, and syphilis are all transmittable.
It’s important to get yourself checked regularly, or at least if you start having sex with someone new, or if you notice any symptoms. If you have any concerns, to get it checked out ASAP. And you have no excuse, because the services nearby are phenomenal: The Department of Sexual Health provides clinics both at Cardiff Royal Infirmary (Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0SZ) and in a number of other locations across Cardiff.
You do not need to see your doctor before attending a sexual health clinic, which may settle any worries you have about the awkward trip to the GP – although they are professionals, and your modesty and integrity is always taken into consideration and confidentiality is never breached.
So, for all your sexual health needs, visit The Cardiff Royal Infirmary (CRI). They offer: basic contraception, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, treatment for STIs, advice and testing for the LGBTQ community, and more.
However, The CRI is not your only option; there is an abundance of Sexual Health Services provided in community clinics around the city. The nearest to the university is Roath Clinic on Albany Road, Cardiff, CF24 3SB. Here they can again offer:
· Contraceptive pill or Jab
· Condoms and emergency contraception
· Pregnancy testing and Pregnancy advice and referral for abortion if required
· IUD / IUS (“Coil”) and Implant (“Rod”) insertions, removals and changes
· STI tests (Chlamydia and gonorrhoea)
· Cervical smear tests (if capacity allows)
It’s important to be safe, careful and sensible when having sex; to prevent unwanted pregnancies and infections.
Sexual health isn’t limited to sexually active people: Yeast infections, UTIs, rashes and more can occur for a number of reasons. For example, it’s believed that most women will experience a UTI at some point in their life, due to the nature of urethras. It’s also nothing to be ashamed about. These things happen to the best of us, and it’s best to face any problems head on, and get it dealt with rather than burying your head in the sand. It’s important to talk about sexual health, and put these recommendations into practice the next time you’re out on the pull. For more information, head over to www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/sexual-health. To book an appointment at the CRI, phone 029 2033 5208 or 029 2033 5355.
To contact Roath Clinic call 02920 461 177.