HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is marking the 100th year of International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8th March, by raising awareness of the contraception choices that are available to women in Bedfordshire.
The charity’s Bedford centre runs a full range of contraception and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, in conjunction with sexual health charity Brook.
The centre saw 1852 people alone from October to December last year, with 85% of these clients women, and the highest uptake of services from women aged 16-35. Clinical staff support women by talking through the options available; condoms, the coil, the pill, the implant and the contraceptive injection, and helping them to find the most suitable solution for them. As well as planning routine contraception THT and Brook can also help with emergency contraception and pregnancy tests.
Contraception choices, and their effectiveness, have increased dramatically and have come a long way since the first known use of a condom, in ancient Egyptian times, when linen sheaths were used to help prevent disease. The pill has been widely available in the UK for 50 years now, originally only for married women but now all women, regardless of their relationship circumstances. Wide-ranging hormonal methods of contraception are also now available; patches and rings as well as longer acting methods such as the implant, Intrauterine Device (IUD) and injection, that mean you don’t have to remember to take a tablet every day.
Service Manager Sarah Cadwallader said: “When it comes to contraception, the choices can be bewildering and a little confusing, so getting input from specialised staff is absolutely key. Lots of women who visit us are looking for advice on the contraceptive choices available whilst others may be using contraception already and looking to revisit options as their needs are changing.
“This International Women’s Day we want to encourage anyone needing support with contraception or sexual health issues to come to see us. We run walk-in, confidential, female friendly services and you don’t need to book an appointment- we’ve got walk-in daytime and evening slots.”
THT and Brook have been delivering family planning and sexual health services across Bedfordshire for just over a year, delivering services to both men and women. You can ring us for further details for times, locations or advice; on 01234 761 080.”
4-6 The Broadway