Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Contraception and Sexual Heath (CaSH) service is highlighting the importance of good sexual and reproductive health as part of this year’s Sexual Health Awareness Week taking place 15 to 21 September.
Sexual Health Awareness Week is a national campaign led by the Family Planning Association and this year’s theme focuses on emergency contraception and wider contraception methods. The week aims to dispel some myths around the use of emergency contraception, after a survey revealed that 29% of sexually active women aged between 16 and 54 years have had unprotected sex in the last two years and not used emergency contraception.
Sue Capstick, Clinical Business Manager for the CaSH team at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
“This week is a great way of getting the right messages across to people so they can make informed, responsible decisions and practice safe sex. There are many myths out there around emergency contraception, what it is and when it can be used and it is important that women are aware of the facts around using emergency contraception and don’t feel embarrassed about asking for it. This week is also a great way to get people talking about contraception and good sexual health, raising awareness of the various methods of contraception that can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies and also reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).”
Some key facts about emergency contraception are:
- There are three methods of emergency contraception and they can be used up to varying time limits after unprotected sex. Unprotected sex doesn’t just mean you haven’t used any contraception at all – sometimes methods can fail, for example a condom splitting.
- The two emergency contraceptive pills that are available are Levonelle, which can be taken up to three days after unprotected sex, and ellaOne, which can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex.
- A third option is the emergency intrauterine device, also known as an IUD or sometimes called the coil, which can be fitted up to five days after unprotected sex and can then be left to act as a regular method of contraception for five to 10 years, depending on the type. It can be removed at any time, and does not affect your fertility.
- There are 15 different methods of contraception, including 13 for women. These include four methods known as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) because once used they can be effective for between eight weeks and 10 years.
The CaSH team hold regular contraception clinics for anyone wanting to find out more information and discuss what would be right for them. You can contact the team on 01772 401140 to find out your nearest clinic or visit www.cashlancashirecare,nhs.uk. Further details about Sexual Health Awareness Week can be found on the FPA website by visiting www.fpa.org.uk.