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Independent living

Sexual health

Did you know? 

  • There are half a million new sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses each year, which means the risk of getting an infection is increasing. The risk of infection also increases with frequent partner change 
  • Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed STI in the UK and for most it has no symptoms. If it’s untreated it can cause pelvic infection and infertility 
  • In those that have been treated for Chlamydia there is a 60% chance that their partner will be positive too 
  • A quarter of people with HIV in the UK are undiagnosed 
  • Half of all STI diagnoses in the UK are young people under 25 
  • 30% of women will have an abortion at some time in their lives 
  • Long acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods such as the contraceptive implant or contraception coil have lower failure rates 

Sexual health incorporates advice and services for:

  • contraception 
  • relationships
  • abortion 
  • sexually transmitted infections including HIV 

Local contraception and sexual health clinics

Advice about contraception and sexual health including where to find your nearest sexual health clinic or contraception provider can be found at 

GP practices

Many GP practices offer a full range of contraception (including the contraceptive coil and contraceptive implant) as well as chlamydia screening for young people. Find your local GP practice here. 

Support for people affected by HIV

The Eddystone Trust is an independent organisation providing information and support for anyone affected by HIV across the South West. Some services also relate to wider sexual health. 

Further services for young people

Young people can also get sexual health information, advice and services from: 

  • pharmacies many offer free emergency hormonal contraception to young women aged 13-24 and chlamydia screening for young men and women 
  • local minor injury units – some offer emergency contraception, please telephone first 
  • You can get all forms of emergency contraception from any Devon Sexual Health clinic, please call our service (Monday-Friday 9-5pm) and we will review you the same day.  
  • You can also get emergency hormonal contraceptive pills (the morning after pill) from most pharmacies and from your GP. If you have had unprotected sex then it’s important that you take the ‘morning after pill’ as soon as possible afterwards.  
  • Emergency contraception is available free from GPs and also from some pharmacies if you are 13-24. You can local service here 
  • In addition, Emergency Contraception can be bought from a pharmacy over the counter or online, although the cheapest medication may not always be the best option.  
  • Wherever you are reviewed you should be offered testing for STIs at the same time.  
  • If you have been raped or sexually abused you can get advice, support, Emergency Contraception and STI testing at a Devon & Cornwall SARC .  
  • further education (FE) colleges – nurses offer confidential sexual health drop-ins and can provide free condoms, pregnancy testing, chlamydia screening and emergency contraception 
  • schools – many secondary schools offer confidential sexual health drop-ins and nurses can provide free condoms, pregnancy testing, chlamydia screening and emergency contraception. School Nurses can be contacted via Health for Teens 
  • online – there is a lot of contradictory information on the internet but sites like Health for Teens and Brook provide clear, sensible information for young people and parents 

Sexual wellbeing – People with Learning Disabilities

Personal and sexual relationships can bring happiness, fulfilment, companionship, love and a greater sense of freedom to the lives of people with a learning disability.  

Some easier to read information is available regarding sexual health and wellbeing:   

More information

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