Sexual Health

Sexual Health

Sexual Health is about being safe, secure and comfortable. Not just in a certain environment, but in your own body and mind and being aware of STI’s, pregnancy and your own sexuality. Here at LANDED, we acknowledge that talking about Sexual Health can be a little nerve-wracking.

Knowing the facts is really important as it will allow you to keep yourself safe and healthy.  When it comes to sexual health, the main concern for many young people is avoiding pregnancy, but being aware of the risks and consequences of not practicing safer sex allows you to stay in control.

On these pages we’ve provided some easy to understand information on a range of topics associated with sexual health so read on, get clued up and stay safe!

In this Section:

 

Contraceptives

Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

Contraceptives or “birth control” are used to stop you getting pregnant. There are lots of different kinds of contraceptives, and which one you choose to use will depend on lots of things like your lifestyle, culture and your plans for the future. Your doctor, family planning or sexual health clinic can give you advice on which method of contraceptive would suit you best.

Although most contraceptives are taken by women it is as much a man’s responsibility as a woman’s to practice safer sex.

Contraceptive implant

implant Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

  • Used by females
  • Over 99% effective
  • Works for 3 years
  • Placed underneath the skin by a doctor or nurse (usually in the arm)
  • Can mess up your periods for at least the first year
  • Other side effects might include acne, mood changes and breast tenderness
  • DOES NOT PROTECT AGAINST STIs

Contraceptive Injection - The Jag

contraceptive-injection Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

  • Used by females
  • Over 99% effective
  • Lasts between 8-12 weeks dependant on which type you get
  • Periods become irregular and can stop
  • Other side effects might include weight gain and mood changes
  • DOES NOT PROTECT AGAINST STIs

Combined Pill (Contains Oestrogen & Progestogen)

combined-pill Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

  • Used by females
  • Over 99% effective if taken properly
  • Can also be used to control heavy periods
  • Side effects can include headaches, sickness and weight gain
  • DOES NOT PROTECT AGAINST STIs

Progestogen Only Pill - Mini Pill

Mini Pill Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

  • Used by females
  • 99% effective if taken properly
  • Good for people who can’t take the combined pill.
  • Can mess up your periods
  • DOES NOT PROTECT AGAINST STIs

Femidom

femidom Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

  • Used by females
  • 95% effective if used properly
  • Need to be careful as they can slip out
  • You can get them free on the “Free Condoms No Fuss” scheme and from sexual health clinics
  • Protects against pregnancy and most STIs

Condoms

condom Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

  • Used by males
  • 98% effective if used properly
  • You can get them free on the “Free Condoms No Fuss” scheme and from sexual health clinics
  • The No 1 method to protect against pregnancy and most STIs

WARNING:  most contraceptives will only protect against an unwanted pregnancy – not against STIs. To keep you safe – either don’t have sex or use a condom. 

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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’S)

 Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

Sexually Transmitted Infections or STIs as they are more commonly known are passed from person to person when they have unprotected sex or, in some cases, close bodily contact. You can catch an STI if you are male or female. STIs need to be treated by a doctor or at a sexual health clinic. STI’s will not go away by themselves. Sometimes the symptoms will go away, but the infection will still be in your body and will continue to do damage until it has been treated. You will also pass the infection to another person if you have unprotected sex with them. You can have more than 1 STI at any time, and you can also get an STI again even if you’ve had it before.

 

PROTECT YOURSELF – USE A CONDOM 

Chlamydia

chlamydia Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationThe most common STI in Lanarkshire, a lot of people experience no symptoms so they don’t even know they have it, or sometimes symptoms can be very mild and you don’t even notice them. If Chlamydia is left untreated it can affect your chances of having kids.

Signs & Symptoms

  • White discharge from penis or vagina
  • Pain when peeing and having sex
  • Lower tummy or back pain
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pain or swelling in the balls

Gonorrhoea

gonorrhea Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationFemales are less likely to know they have gonorrhoea than males, but many people show no symptoms at all. If left untreated, Gonorrhoea can affect your chances of having kids. You can also catch Gonorrhoea of the throat through unprotected oral sex if that person has the virus.

Signs & Symptoms

  • A green, yellow or white smelly discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Pain or discomfort when peeing
  • Itching or discharge from the anus
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Inflammation of the foreskin
  • Pain or tenderness in the balls

Genital warts

genital-warts Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationYou do not have to have sex with someone to get genital warts. Close skin-to-skin contact with the genital area can also spread infection. Not everyone has visible symptoms. Not linked to a wart you would find on your hand.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Warts can be flat, smooth, small bumps or large pink cauliflower like lumps on the genital areas. Can appear on their own or in groups
  • Lumps can appear around or inside the vagina, the anus, the penis, and the upper thighs
  • Genital warts are usually painless but can be itchy

Genital Herpes

genital-herpes Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationOnce you have the Herpes virus in your body it will not go away but it does become dormant (goes to sleep) for long periods of time and will hide in the body. During this time you are still highly infectious. In some people the virus can flare up again and cause more discomfort and pain. If you have a cold sore on your mouth you should not give someone oral sex as you could infect them with the Herpes virus.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Tingling feeling and itching in genital areas
  • Small fluid filled blisters anywhere on the genital areas, on your bum or the tops of the thighs that burst and leave painful sores
  • Pain when peeing caused by your pee passing over the sores
  • Head and back aches
  • Flu like symptoms including swollen glands and fever

Pubic lice

pubic lice Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationHaving pubic lice does not mean you’re not clean – it has nothing to do with personal hygiene. Pubic lice are passed by close body or sexual contact with an infected person. They cannot fly or jump and move by crawling from hair to hair. They can sometimes be passed by sharing towels or clothing, but this is rare, but you can’t catch pubic lice from a toilet seat.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Itching in infected areas
  • Black powder in your underwear (lice droppings)
  • Brown eggs in your pubic or other body hair
  • Tiny specks of blood on your underwear or skin

Syphilis

syphilis Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationSigns & Symptoms

Syphilis can develop in 3 stages;

Stage 1:

  • 1 or more painless ulcers 2 – 3 weeks after being infected on and around the genitals
  • The sores are very infectious and may take between 2 – 6 weeks to heal. If the infection has not been treated at this point it will have spread to other parts of the body and will now be 2nd stage syphilis

Stage 2

  • Can occur 3 – 6 weeks after the first stage:
  • A non-itchy rash all over the body or just in patches, but is often seen on the soles of the feet or palms of the hand.
  • Flu like illness, tiredness, loss of appetite and swollen glands (which can last for weeks or months)
  • Flat wart like growths on the lips of the vagina and anus in both men and woman (which can be mistaken for genital warts)
  • White patches on the tongue or roof of the mouth
  • Hair loss

Treatment at any time during the first two stages of syphilis will cure the infection. If left untreated stage 3 will occur

Stage 3

At this stage most symptoms disappear but the infection will, after a number of years cause serious problems to the heart, brain, eyes, internal organs, bones and nervous system and will eventually lead to death. Treatment at this stage can cure syphilis but any damage caused to the heart or nervous system can’t be reversed.

HIV

HIV Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationHIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

It is a virus that damages the body’s immune system so that it can no longer fight off certain infections.

How do you get it?

  • By having sex with someone who is HIV+ and not using a condom. HIV is found in seminal and vaginal fluids (The fluids that come out your body when you have sex).
  • By blood contact such as sharing needles, making a blood brother pact, or getting a tattoo from an unqualified tattooist.
  • From breast milk (from an HIV positive mother to her baby)

This means that you can’t get HIV by talking to someone who is HIV positive, shaking their hand, drinking out of the same cup, eating off of the same plate or kissing them. Neither can you get HIV by going to the doctors, visiting the dentist, or donating or receiving blood as all blood products are screened in this country, although this might not be the same in other countries throughout the world.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

AIDS is not an STI. AIDS is a condition that affects people that are HIV+. When a person is HIV+ their immune system is damaged and they can get certain illnesses that can leave them feeling run down.

Hepatitis B

hepatitis b Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationSome people have no symptoms, but can be carriers of the virus and can pass to others through saliva, blood or sexual contact.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Flu like symptoms
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Liver damage

Hepititis C

hepatitis c Sexual Health - LANDED Peer EducationA virus that’s spread mainly by blood to blood contact that affects the liver.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Liver damage
  • Sickness
  • Exhaustion
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • Sometimes lower stomach pains

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Sexual Health Services

 Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

Lanarkshire has many sexual health services available for adults and young people that offer;

  • STI Testing
  • STI Treatment
  • Pregnancy Testing
  • Emergency Contraception
  • Contraception including condoms
  • Advice
Lanarkshire Health Clinics

 

Click here to check out “sexplanations” NHS Lanarkshire’s sexual health website

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Further Information:

 Sexual Health - LANDED Peer Education

Landed have several resources available to help teach young people about Sexual Health, if you are an organisation you can view our products by visit our shop page or contact us directly if you wish to discuss more customised orders.

 

If you are under 25 & live in the Lanarkshire area you can access a copy of our Sexual health information booklets “Hair Doon There” & “Doin It” FREE OF CHARGE. Simply get in touch through the Contact page or call 01698 269872 to claim your copy 

 

 

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