Our sexual health is often a topic we’re too embarrassed to talk about, but it’s an essential part of our overall wellbeing. It’s also an area of our health where the more we know about it and what is available to us, the more at ease we feel, because we’re empowered to make confident, educated decisions.
Sexual Health Week runs from 13-19th September, so to do our part for the community here in Dartford, here’s a quick-start guide to everything you need to know about sexual health services in Longfield, Dartford, and at many other pharmacies around the UK.
What is included as “sexual health”?
Sexual health includes all aspects of physical and mental wellness related to our sexual organs, relationships, and sex. It encompasses sexually transmitted infections (STIs), contraception, and education around these topics and healthy relationships.
How often are you supposed to get an STI test?
Getting an STI test isn’t like getting your car MOT’d – it’s not necessary once every year. However, how often you should get an STI test depends on your personal circumstances. If you’ve recently started seeing a new partner, it’s a good idea to get an STI test before you start sleeping together if you haven’t had a test since your last partner. If you have a long term monogamous relationship, then you won’t need to get an STI test, though you should continue to get regular pap smear tests (if applicable) and get a test if you experience any abnormal symptoms. You can find out more about STI tests and symptoms to look out for here.
What is emergency contraception?
Emergency contraception (also known as the morning after pill) is a hormone pill, like other forms of contraception, that will prevent or delay ovulation, or even prevent fertilisation of the egg. There are different brands of emergency contraception, but generally, emergency contraception can be taken for up to 3-5 days after unprotected sex (though are most effective within 12 hours). The sooner you head to your local sexual health services provider to get it, the better, but don’t panic if it has been a day or two.
Where can I get sexual health services in Longfield, Dartford?
It’s natural to find seeking help for an STI or for emergency contraception stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. Your local sexual health services are there to help you feel comfortable and taken care of, so don’t be afraid to reach out to the friendly professionals available to help you stay healthy.
If you’re elsewhere in the UK, you simply need to go to your local sexual health services provider; you can find local NHS services here. If you’re local to us (Hodgson Pharmacy) in Longfield, Dartford, then we can provide you with emergency contraception. The process is easy: you don’t need an appointment, and if you’re under 30, you get it for free. To find out more about getting emergency contraception at Hodgson Pharmacy in Longfield, Dartford, click here:
When you come in and ask for the morning after pill, one of our friendly pharmacists will speak to you in private and ask you a few questions, to ensure you get the right pill based on your medical history. Everything you discuss is entirely confidential.