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Contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy. There are different types of contraception and each one works a little bit differently.

This is where you can find out information on a wide range of different contraceptives and understand the various options available for you.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about contraception so that you can choose the right method for your needs.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception is used to help prevent pregnancy if you’ve had unprotected sex or another form of contraception has failed.

You will often hear it being called the ‘morning after pill’ – but it usually takes the form of either the emergency contraceptive pill or an intrauterine device (IUD or coil).


Condoms are made from a very thin latex and are designed to cover the penis or the inside of the vagina to stop fluids from being transferred between partners.

They are currently the only type of protection which will prevent you from getting pregnant and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


The contraceptive pill or just ‘the pill’ is either the combined contraceptive pill or the progesterone only pill.

The most common type is the combined contraceptive pill which uses artificial hormones to either stop an egg being produced or stop sperm reaching it in the womb.

Long-acting Reversible Contraception

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is the term used to describe methods of birth control which help prevent against pregnancy after just one treatment.

The most common types are the contraceptive implant, contraceptive injection, IUS (coil with hormones) and the IUD (coil without hormones).

Other Contraceptives

There are a wide range of other methods of contraception you may want to be aware of including:

  • Natural family planning (also known as ‘fertility awareness’) is where someone monitors their menstrual cycle and avoids having sex during their fertile window
  • A diaphragm or cap work by covering the cervix so that sperm can’t enter the womb
  • The vaginal ring is a small plastic ring which is placed in the vagina and releases hormones to prevent pregnancy


If you’re looking for a more ‘permanent’ method of birth control, a vasectomy is a surgical procedure which cuts the tubes in the scrotum which carry sperm.

Things to know:

  • A vasectomy is over 99% effective
  • It’s a quick procedure which is usually done under local anaesthetic.
  • It can be reversed if necessary


Clear answers to common questions

Contacting a sexual health service for the first time may be a little daunting, especially if you’re not keen on talking to someone. So, here are answers to some of the questions we get asked a lot.

You’ll be asked a few simple questions to understand your circumstances and the support you may need.

There is no rush, so take your time.

We will support you in whatever way you need.

This may include talking through your situation, giving advice, helping you access things like protection or contraception, or organising a STI test.

We provide a quick and discreet STI self-testing kits for many of the most common infections.

If a different test is needed, we’ll help you with booking a confidential appointment at a local clinic.

You may be invited to a confidential physical examination at one of our clinics, where a doctor will undertake any examination that’s needed.

You’ll be asked in advance if you are comfortable with the examination.

No one. Both your appointment and test result are completely confidential.

Your information is stored in a sexual health services medical record and is only shared with your GP or other professional if you agree.

If you do need to take a test, many can be taken from the comfort of your home by ordering one of our self-test kits – others may require a visit to a sexual health clinic.

You may be asked to provide either a urine or swab sample of the infected area or a blood sample may be needed in some cases. This will be explained before the test.

Firstly, please don’t worry, we deal with STIs all the time and almost all are now treatable.

You’ll be contacted by a professional to discuss your results and given advice on the treatment you may need.

In addition, we will offer any counselling and other forms of support you may need.


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