PHA Highlight Contraception Types This Sexual Health Week

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has highlighted the different types of contraception available, marking Sexual Health Week, 12-18 February.

There are a range of contraceptives to help prevent unplanned pregnancy available to suit everyone's needs and what works best will depend on what matters to you, the PHA has said.

It is also important to remember that only condoms can protect against both Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.

Frances Dowds, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager at the PHA, said: "Your sexual health and wellbeing is important, and looking after it can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health and help you develop positive relationships.

"There are many contraceptive options available including the pill, an implant, an injection, and others, and if one method does not suit, we want people to feel empowered to look at another option to find one that they may be more comfortable with.

"There are forms of longer-term contraception that are effective at helping prevent unplanned pregnancies but the type that will work for you may depend on your circumstances and your health.

"If you are unsure of what to do, it is always best to have a discussion with your GP or your local Sexual Health and Reproductive clinic."

The PHA has information on the different forms of contraception and how to access them at www.SexualHealthNI.info where you'll also find advice on developing healthy relationships and how best to protect yourself against STIs.

Dr Rachel Coyle, Public Health Consultant at the PHA, said: "It is important to remember that while there are many contraceptive options that help prevent unplanned pregnancy, to also protect yourself against STIs you need to use condoms.

"We would encourage anyone who is using other methods of contraception to bear that in mind if they are sexually active."

Advice and support around sexual health is free and confidential at Sexual Health and Reproductive (SRH) Clinics across Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.

Frances added: "The best way to get accurate information is to speak to qualified healthcare professionals.

"Going to an SRH Clinic is a great way to get more information about your sexual health and to understand what contraceptive options there are available to you.

"Clinics provide free contraceptives and advice on how to use them, in a confidential and non-judgemental setting.

"The online service, SH24, is available as part of health services in Northern Ireland. SH24 provides free access to oral contraception and to STI testing, as well as information about sexual health. We would really encourage people to think about how best to protect their sexual health."

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