By Molly Govus
Freshers’ week is one of the most important times to brush up on your knowledge on safer sex. Ultimately, being educated and having knowledge about what is available around Cardiff will ensure that you can have a wonderful Freshers’ week without any concerns, fears or unwanted scares. It is a new city and a new environment for some, but luckily, Cardiff University Students’ Union and Cardiff have got you covered.
In Cardiff, we are lucky enough to have an abundance of sexual health charities and clinics available to students. One of the most popular charities is the SU’s Sexual Health Awareness Group (SHAG) scheme; a voluntary student-led service that works closely with the Students’ Union. SHAG pride themselves on their open attitude towards sex and sexual health and they have connections with other charities and organisations around the city to guide students towards professional help if it is ever needed.
One of the first things you will probably see from SHAG are the free condoms supplied on the second floor of the Students’ Union, in the Heath IV lounge and by the entrance to Y Plas and there is also plenty of emergency advice on their website. The C-Card is also a wonderful scheme that SHAG organise, where every Wednesday from 13:00 – 15:00 you can sign up to get free condoms. They really do live up to their description; ‘run by you and for you’.
Luckily, our location in Cardiff means that we are surrounded by some of the most comprehensive clinics and they are all 100% confidential. One of the most popular is the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (CRI) which is located on Newport Road between Plasnewydd and Adamsdown; only a 20 minute walk from Talybont. The Cardiff Royal Infirmary provides a range of services from walk-in advice sessions and coil fittings to providing treatment for STIs. Even if you’re a busy student, they have a range of walk-in appointments available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays; it is one of the most accessible clinics in Cardiff.
If you are ever in need of similar services and prepared to travel, the GUM clinic in Royal Gwent Hospital is only a 30-minute drive away to the neighbouring city of Newport and even closer to the student hub is the Park Place GP surgery where you can get walk-in appointments for contraception and sexual screening from 13:00 – 15:00 on Wednesdays.
Overall, there is no need to fear about being without support and guidance in Cardiff. Being students, we are in the best place for being surrounded by a range of professional support and guidance. Things happen, things can go wrong, but that in no way means you should be without help if it is needed.
You should never feel worried or scared to approach any of the clinics or charities listed above – it is their job to look out for your safety! At Cardiff University, there is a wonderful open frame of mind surrounding the topic of sex and sexual health. As students, we should take advantage of the wonderful services available to us in order to stay on top of our sexual health– get involved, stay educated, and ultimately… stay safe!
If you are interested in finding out more about SHAG, they are holding an information evening on Thursday September 26 in Room 3A, on the Third Floor of the Students’ Union.