Blog

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    string(44) "Myths and misconceptions about contraception"
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Did you know there are 15 methods of contraception available free of charge from our service? This includes four long-acting reversible methods (LARCs) which do not rely on you taking them every day or using every time you have sex. There is even a long- acting injection which you can administer yourself at home!  However there are even more myths and misconceptions about contraception, it can be quite confusing. Here is a list of 12 common myths along with the facts.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(5683) "

Myth 1: If your partner withdraws you won’t get pregnant

There has been a lot in the news lately about this so-called withdrawal method. However this can leave the woman at risk of pregnancy because when a man is sexually excited clear fluid, sometimes called pre-cum, is released from his penis before he ejaculates. This pre-cum contains sperm and so withdrawal can still lead to pregnancy.

Myth 2: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex standing up

Sperm are amazing athletes and can swim easily against gravity, so if you don’t use contraception it is possible to get pregnant whatever position you have sex in, however flexible you may be!

Myth 3: Two condoms are better than one

Unfortunately you can’t improve your protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by using more than one condom at a time. In fact the condom is more likely to split or come off if you do this.

Myth 4: You can’t get pregnant if you go to the loo or wash straight after sex

Again this does not work because the sperm are such great swimmers they are already well on their way by the time a woman has got to the loo. People have tried all sorts of concoctions in the vagina after sex like squirting cola drink up there! None of these have been found to help and might just cause a bit of discomfort and a funny smell!!

Myth 5: You can’t get pregnant if it is you first time

When a sperm and an egg meet you can get pregnant, your first time or your thousandth time it doesn’t matter. Remember young people are often very fertile too and so can get pregnant very easily. It is even possible for a young woman to get pregnant before her first period because the egg is released before a period comes.

Myth 6: Contraception makes you put on weight

There is no evidence that contraception makes you put on weight, apart from some limited evidence to suggest some people put on weight with the injection. However some women also lose weight on the injection and it is best to discuss what is right for you with your doctor or at our Sexual health service

Myth 7: You need to take a break from your pill every now and then

Women used to be told they needed a break from their pill, when the amount of hormone in the pill was much higher than today, and less research had been done. Nowadays we say it is safe to stay on the pill at least up to 50 years, and if you don’t want to bleed you do not need to take a break every month either. It is worth chatting to a doctor or nurse about this to find out what is best for you as an individual.

Myth 8: Long term use of contraception can make you infertile

The only permanent method of contraception is sterilisation. With the other methods you can get pregnant straight away or after a short delay, but you will eventually get your cycle back. You can get pregnant the day an injection is late, however it can take up to a year to get fertility back, so discuss your plans with your doctor or nurse so you can find the best method for you.

Myth 9: Emergency contraception must be taken the morning after unprotected sex

There are three methods of emergency contraception: two pills and an Intrauterine device (IUD). The pills work best when taken as soon as possible but may be given 3-5 days after unprotected sex depending which pill it is. The IUD may be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex and sometimes it can be fitted later. This is the best method of emergency contraception and for more details on all three methods and how to get them visit our website.http://thecentresexualhealth.org/services/contraception 

Myth 10: You can use baby lotion on condoms if you don’t have any lube

Any oil based lubricant will rot a latex condom. Try it for yourself: blow up a condom and then rub baby lotion on it and wait for the pop! We supply free water based lube at all our clinics along with condoms of different shapes and sizes.  http://thecentresexualhealth.org/clinics 

Myth 11: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period

Many people believe this to be true, however it is not a reliable method, because not only are sperm athletic, they can also live up to 7 days! Also menstrual cycles can be very irregular and it is not always easy to know when a woman will ovulate. So it is possible to get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

Myth 12: It is Ok to re-use a condom if you haven’t got a new one

This is not a good idea! Apart from being very messy they can leak sperm and cause an unwanted pregnancy. So make sure you have plenty of supplies handy. Free condoms are available in all of our clinics.

For more information on all of these methods of contraception including side effects go to our website http://thecentresexualhealth.org/services/contraception or come along to our drop-in or booked clinics. At The Centre we hope to give you advice and information in a friendly non-judgmental way. We are confidential, specialist service and you do not need to be referred by your GP. No question is too stupid!  

We look forward to seeing you and maybe busting some more myths.

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Did you know there are 15 methods of contraception available free of charge from our service? This includes four long-acting reversible methods (LARCs) which do not rely on you taking them every day or using every time you have sex. There is even a long- acting injection which you can administer yourself at home!  However there are even more myths and misconceptions about contraception, it can be quite confusing. Here is a list of 12 common myths along with the facts.

Myth 1: If your partner withdraws you won’t get pregnant

There has been a lot in the news lately about this so-called withdrawal method. However this can leave the woman at risk of pregnancy because when a man is sexually excited clear fluid, sometimes called pre-cum, is released from his penis before he ejaculates. This pre-cum contains sperm and so withdrawal can still lead to pregnancy.

Myth 2: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex standing up

Sperm are amazing athletes and can swim easily against gravity, so if you don’t use contraception it is possible to get pregnant whatever position you have sex in, however flexible you may be!

Myth 3: Two condoms are better than one

Unfortunately you can’t improve your protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by using more than one condom at a time. In fact the condom is more likely to split or come off if you do this.

Myth 4: You can’t get pregnant if you go to the loo or wash straight after sex

Again this does not work because the sperm are such great swimmers they are already well on their way by the time a woman has got to the loo. People have tried all sorts of concoctions in the vagina after sex like squirting cola drink up there! None of these have been found to help and might just cause a bit of discomfort and a funny smell!!

Myth 5: You can’t get pregnant if it is you first time

When a sperm and an egg meet you can get pregnant, your first time or your thousandth time it doesn’t matter. Remember young people are often very fertile too and so can get pregnant very easily. It is even possible for a young woman to get pregnant before her first period because the egg is released before a period comes.

Myth 6: Contraception makes you put on weight

There is no evidence that contraception makes you put on weight, apart from some limited evidence to suggest some people put on weight with the injection. However some women also lose weight on the injection and it is best to discuss what is right for you with your doctor or at our Sexual health service

Myth 7: You need to take a break from your pill every now and then

Women used to be told they needed a break from their pill, when the amount of hormone in the pill was much higher than today, and less research had been done. Nowadays we say it is safe to stay on the pill at least up to 50 years, and if you don’t want to bleed you do not need to take a break every month either. It is worth chatting to a doctor or nurse about this to find out what is best for you as an individual.

Myth 8: Long term use of contraception can make you infertile

The only permanent method of contraception is sterilisation. With the other methods you can get pregnant straight away or after a short delay, but you will eventually get your cycle back. You can get pregnant the day an injection is late, however it can take up to a year to get fertility back, so discuss your plans with your doctor or nurse so you can find the best method for you.

Myth 9: Emergency contraception must be taken the morning after unprotected sex

There are three methods of emergency contraception: two pills and an Intrauterine device (IUD). The pills work best when taken as soon as possible but may be given 3-5 days after unprotected sex depending which pill it is. The IUD may be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex and sometimes it can be fitted later. This is the best method of emergency contraception and for more details on all three methods and how to get them visit our website.http://thecentresexualhealth.org/services/contraception 

Myth 10: You can use baby lotion on condoms if you don’t have any lube

Any oil based lubricant will rot a latex condom. Try it for yourself: blow up a condom and then rub baby lotion on it and wait for the pop! We supply free water based lube at all our clinics along with condoms of different shapes and sizes.  http://thecentresexualhealth.org/clinics 

Myth 11: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period

Many people believe this to be true, however it is not a reliable method, because not only are sperm athletic, they can also live up to 7 days! Also menstrual cycles can be very irregular and it is not always easy to know when a woman will ovulate. So it is possible to get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

Myth 12: It is Ok to re-use a condom if you haven’t got a new one

This is not a good idea! Apart from being very messy they can leak sperm and cause an unwanted pregnancy. So make sure you have plenty of supplies handy. Free condoms are available in all of our clinics.

For more information on all of these methods of contraception including side effects go to our website http://thecentresexualhealth.org/services/contraception or come along to our drop-in or booked clinics. At The Centre we hope to give you advice and information in a friendly non-judgmental way. We are confidential, specialist service and you do not need to be referred by your GP. No question is too stupid!  

We look forward to seeing you and maybe busting some more myths.

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You might have seen the excellent BBC4 series Queers -- a series of short monologues presented in response to the 50th anniversary of the sexual offences act.  One monologue features Russell Tovey as a young man touched by the HIV epidemic at its start in 1987.  He didn’t want to get tested as there wasn’t any treatment then, so what difference would it make?  Things have changed a lot since then -- people who are diagnosed with HIV early and get onto treatment usually live full and healthy lives now. Medical evidence has shown that people on effective HIV treatment can’t pass it on. The important thing is to get tested regularly and often. 

So if you are a gay man, a trans woman or man who has sex with men (MSM) what should you expect if you come to any of the The Centre clinics across Devon?

Firstly you should expect an accommodating and non-judgemental approach from all our staff – we’re here to listen and help you to manage your health needs.  We ask a lot of questions of you to make sure we understand what you need, and what to recommend, and you should feel free to ask us if you have questions too.

  • We will always offer you ‘triple site’ testing – that’s a urine sample, and swabs from the throat and bum (no umbrella!); if you prefer to take this one yourself, we’ll explain how to do it – no stripping off necessary!  If you have symptoms, we’ll do and exam and may do extra tests as well.
  • We’ll offer and do a blood test for HIV/syphilis/hepatitis, and/or a rapid finger-prick test for HIV
  • We’ll generally have a chat with you about managing risk and staying safe – and we can offer support around drug, alcohol and addiction issues (including chemsex) and arrange follow-up or signpost to other services if necessary.
  • We routinely offer vaccination against Hepatitis A and B (although there’s an international shortage of vaccines at the moment so we’re prioritising those most at risk – we’ll try to make sure you get one if you need it).
  • We’ll talk to you about what’s available regarding pre- (PREP) and post- (PEPSE) exposure prophylaxis against HIV, and discuss where you can get PEPSE if we’re not open (A+E).  It’s important to access PEPSE ASAP if you think you need it as it doesn’t work as well after 24 hours.
  • We’ll offer to set up a text message reminder about getting tested regularly (every three months is standard unless you’re in a monogamous relationship)
  • We’ll give you a supply of free condoms and lube as a going home gift! No party bags or balloons though! We've come an awfully long way since 1987, we DO have treatment for HIV and other conditions, and they really work.

Come in and see us soon…

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You might have seen the excellent BBC4 series Queers -- a series of short monologues presented in response to the 50th anniversary of the sexual offences act.  One monologue features Russell Tovey as a young man touched by the HIV epidemic at its start in 1987.  He didn’t want to get tested as there wasn’t any treatment then, so what difference would it make?  Things have changed a lot since then -- people who are diagnosed with HIV early and get onto treatment usually live full and healthy lives now. Medical evidence has shown that people on effective HIV treatment can’t pass it on. The important thing is to get tested regularly and often. 

So if you are a gay man, a trans woman or man who has sex with men (MSM) what should you expect if you come to any of the The Centre clinics across Devon?

Firstly you should expect an accommodating and non-judgemental approach from all our staff – we’re here to listen and help you to manage your health needs.  We ask a lot of questions of you to make sure we understand what you need, and what to recommend, and you should feel free to ask us if you have questions too.

  • We will always offer you ‘triple site’ testing – that’s a urine sample, and swabs from the throat and bum (no umbrella!); if you prefer to take this one yourself, we’ll explain how to do it – no stripping off necessary!  If you have symptoms, we’ll do and exam and may do extra tests as well.
  • We’ll offer and do a blood test for HIV/syphilis/hepatitis, and/or a rapid finger-prick test for HIV
  • We’ll generally have a chat with you about managing risk and staying safe – and we can offer support around drug, alcohol and addiction issues (including chemsex) and arrange follow-up or signpost to other services if necessary.
  • We routinely offer vaccination against Hepatitis A and B (although there’s an international shortage of vaccines at the moment so we’re prioritising those most at risk – we’ll try to make sure you get one if you need it).
  • We’ll talk to you about what’s available regarding pre- (PREP) and post- (PEPSE) exposure prophylaxis against HIV, and discuss where you can get PEPSE if we’re not open (A+E).  It’s important to access PEPSE ASAP if you think you need it as it doesn’t work as well after 24 hours.
  • We’ll offer to set up a text message reminder about getting tested regularly (every three months is standard unless you’re in a monogamous relationship)
  • We’ll give you a supply of free condoms and lube as a going home gift! No party bags or balloons though! We've come an awfully long way since 1987, we DO have treatment for HIV and other conditions, and they really work.

Come in and see us soon…

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An anniversary always affords chance to reflect and celebrate. We recently celebrated the 100th birthday of Vera Lynn (20/03/17), and soon will celebrating 100 years since the birth of Jack Kirby (28/08/17) co-creator of the first [and greatest] Avenger: Captain America. This year is also an anniversary in sexual health.

It is now 100 years since the “Venereal Diseases Act” was passed into law by Parliament. This historic legislation enabled the creation of a free and confidential sexual health service in the UK. To celebrate this anniversary the British Association of Sexual Health & HIV (BASHH) has produced a video to show how times have changed! You can see it here:

" ["fulltext"]=> string(1035) "

Taking time to reflect on how times have changed is important, particularly with current society increasingly looking to an uncertain environmental, societal and political future. We mustn’t forget whilst looking forward that there is much to learn from history; from successes and mistakes that we have experienced before. With recent rises in many sexually transmitted infections, particularly syphilis, there may be difficult times ahead. We keep hearing of “super-gonorrhoea” on the horizon which only the Avengers could potentially tackle! Whether these predictions come to pass is difficult to know, futurism is notoriously difficult as any science-fiction author would tell you.

However if we were to focus on one thing it is to be sure that that future will hold many successes and failures in the public health: what we must not forget is to review and reflect on them as they happen, and to never forget the lessons we learn. Who knows what these lessons will be when we look back 100 years from now…..

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An anniversary always affords chance to reflect and celebrate. We recently celebrated the 100th birthday of Vera Lynn (20/03/17), and soon will celebrating 100 years since the birth of Jack Kirby (28/08/17) co-creator of the first [and greatest] Avenger: Captain America. This year is also an anniversary in sexual health.

It is now 100 years since the “Venereal Diseases Act” was passed into law by Parliament. This historic legislation enabled the creation of a free and confidential sexual health service in the UK. To celebrate this anniversary the British Association of Sexual Health & HIV (BASHH) has produced a video to show how times have changed! You can see it here:

Taking time to reflect on how times have changed is important, particularly with current society increasingly looking to an uncertain environmental, societal and political future. We mustn’t forget whilst looking forward that there is much to learn from history; from successes and mistakes that we have experienced before. With recent rises in many sexually transmitted infections, particularly syphilis, there may be difficult times ahead. We keep hearing of “super-gonorrhoea” on the horizon which only the Avengers could potentially tackle! Whether these predictions come to pass is difficult to know, futurism is notoriously difficult as any science-fiction author would tell you.

However if we were to focus on one thing it is to be sure that that future will hold many successes and failures in the public health: what we must not forget is to review and reflect on them as they happen, and to never forget the lessons we learn. Who knows what these lessons will be when we look back 100 years from now…..

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On a beautiful summer morning in Croyde, the sexual health team from Barnstaple and Exeter put up their gazebo and set out their stall to spread the "safer sex message" at Oceanfest 2017.

Many people are often nervous about coming to the Sexual Health Clinic, with notions that we might be judgemental, we might put swabs in embarrassing places or that you might be recognised by someone you know but we wanted the people we met on Saturday to know that actually we're a friendly bunch. The team working in Contraception and Sexual Health are normal people just like you, we see many, MANY people who have probably experienced the same things you have come to see us about and we are passionate about looking after your sexual health.

Some of you at Croyde were excited to see us being loud and proud about our passion but others were a little embarrassed and just glanced at our banners out of the corner of your eyes as you walked past - which is just fine with us - just know that we are here for you when you need us.

Look us up online in the privacy of your home, call us or come in and see us at one of our many clinics in North and East Devon.

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On a beautiful summer morning in Croyde, the sexual health team from Barnstaple and Exeter put up their gazebo and set out their stall to spread the "safer sex message" at Oceanfest 2017.

Many people are often nervous about coming to the Sexual Health Clinic, with notions that we might be judgemental, we might put swabs in embarrassing places or that you might be recognised by someone you know but we wanted the people we met on Saturday to know that actually we're a friendly bunch. The team working in Contraception and Sexual Health are normal people just like you, we see many, MANY people who have probably experienced the same things you have come to see us about and we are passionate about looking after your sexual health.

Some of you at Croyde were excited to see us being loud and proud about our passion but others were a little embarrassed and just glanced at our banners out of the corner of your eyes as you walked past - which is just fine with us - just know that we are here for you when you need us.

Look us up online in the privacy of your home, call us or come in and see us at one of our many clinics in North and East Devon.

" ["tags"]=> array(0) { } ["flink"]=> string(38) "/blog/8-goldcoast-oceanfest-17-06-2017" } }

Myths and misconceptions about contraception

Did you know there are 15 methods of contraception available free of charge from our service? This...

Be Queer, get Tested

You might have seen the excellent BBC4 series Queers -- a series of short monologues presented...

A Centenary to remember

An anniversary always affords chance to reflect and celebrate. We recently celebrated the 100th...

Goldcoast Oceanfest 17/06/2017

On a beautiful summer morning in Croyde, the sexual health team from Barnstaple and Exeter put up...

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