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Information, Advice and sources of support for young people in Suffolk

Sexual health

On this page

  1. Contraception
  2. Unprotected sex
  3. Pregnancy
  4. STIs
  5. Periods
  6. Sexual Health services in Suffolk
Take a look at these Easy read booklets from ACE Anglia - Relationships, Local services, Contraception and STI testing.
This video has been co-produced with young people and raises awareness of the sexual health services that are available in Suffolk, as well as challenging some of the common myths around accessing sexual health services.

“Should we talk about contraception?”

Yes you should! Contraceptive methods allow you to choose when and whether you want to have a baby, ONLY condoms protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) too.

If you are in a sexual relationship it’s your responsibility to take precautions – don’t just think leave it to the other person.

Did you know that there are actually 15 methods of contraception available on the NHS?
My Contraception Tool – choosing the right contraception for you

If you choose to be sexually active (either anally, orally or vaginally) only condoms can protect against STIs and pregnancy.

Still have questions? Sexual health – NHS – Information and advice about sexual health, including contraception and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

"Did somebody say free condoms?!" 

Condoms are available free to young people between the ages of 13 to 24 through the c-card scheme. 

Find out more about the c-card scheme.

They're also often free from many clinics, pharmacies and colleges.

7 things to check when using a condom:

  1. Check the expiry date.
  2. Check it has the European CE mark and BSI Kite mark that shows it’s safe to use.
  3. When opening a condom, push it to the side before opening the packaging to prevent damaging the condom before use.
  4. If you put a condom on the wrong way round, take it off and bin it. Never turn the condom the other way round as it may contain pre-ejaculation sperm.
  5. Always use a new condom each time you have sex.

“We had unprotected sex!”

A couple hugging

If your condom splits or you have had unprotected sex, you may want to think about emergency contraception to stop you or your partner getting pregnant.

Don’t delay – you usually need to act within 3 days (72 hours) of having unprotected sex for this to work effectively. 

Find out more about emergency contraception.

What should I do next? Speak to a pharmacist, GP or iCaSH service (details at the bottom of the page).

You might also want to take a STD test.

“I think I might be pregnant”

I think I might be pregnant! – The first thing you can do is buy a pregnancy test from the supermarket or the chemist or see your doctor or school nurse for a free pregnancy test. For more advice read am I pregnant?.

If you find out you are pregnant there’s lots of advice available and people to help you decide what you want to do. Have a look at the list above for some of the services available near you.

“How do I protect myself from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)?

In 2014, more than 200,000 people tested positive for Chlamydia in England, the majority of those were under 25 years old.

Condom or no condom? – Unfortunately cases of Syphilis (a sexually transmitted disease), chlamydia and gonorrhoea are increasing, so it’s really important to take care of your health and use a condom.

“…we’ve definitely seen a big increase in the amount of gonorrhoea and people having chlamydia and gonorrhoea at the same time.”

(Clare, Brooks clinic)

Chlamydia – As it often has no symptoms, it is simple to catch. It is also simple to test – you can take a free and confidential chlamydia test where you get the results of your test sent to you by text on your mobile.

If you’ve been unlucky it is simple to treat too, usually just 1 dose of antibiotics.

Young people aged 16 to 24 can get a free home Chlamydia test kit by texting TSUF to 88020, or go online at

If you have Chlamydia symptoms that you are concerned about or you’re worried you may be at risk you can access sexual health services for testing and treatment.

Terrance Higgins Trust also supplies free tests to those most at risk of HIV. You can read about their service on the Terrance Higgins Trust website and read about HIV and sexual health

All clinics, doctors, school nurses and health professionals must legally give the same level of help and support regardless of your sexual preference.

‘Pride and Periods’ is a scheme across Suffolk libraries and some other organisations supplying free sanitary protection no questions asked to help end period poverty for women in Suffolk. You can find out more about the scheme on the Suffolk Libraries website.

What happens on the menstrual cycle? Periods and fertility

You can read about periods on The Mix Website.

You can read about Endometriosis on HealthforTeens

- Keep a track of your moods during your cycle - things may be linked and if they are you can find support or at least be ready.
- If you experience a lot of pain or other symptoms you are finding hard to cope with see your GP or speak to a school nurse.
Sexual Health services in Suffolk
  • GP Practices – Many GPs provide contraceptive services including the emergency contraception if you’ve had unprotected sex. GPs also screen for chlamydia, a common sexually transmitted disease for those aged under 25.
  • Pharmacies – Most pharmacies provide free emergency contraception and also screen for chlamydia if you’re under 25.
  • iCaSH  -is a specialist Contraception and Sexual Health service – Providing contraception, sexual health advice, testing and treatment which is confidential and free.
    For more information on sexual health services visit the iCaSHwebsite. They have clinics based in the following locations:
    – Suffolk Sexual Health Services – Ipswich – 0300 123 3650
    – West Suffolk Sexual Health – West Suffolk – 01284 713243
    – Integrated Contraception & Sexual Health Clinic – Lowestoft – 0300 300 3030

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Page updated on May 2nd, 2024 at 10:59am