Sexual Health

Contraception

For some people, university is the first time they will be using contraception. If this is the case, then have a look at the links below to find out what contraception method might work best for you. Even if you have been using contraception for a while, it might be worth knowing what other options are available.

Finding the right contraception for you: 

https://www.brook.org.uk/your-life/category/contraception

or 

https://www.fpa.org.uk/my-contraception-tool

Where can I get hold of contraception?

Boxes of contraception are situated in the Porter’s Lodge and in laundry rooms. Please only take what you need and inform the welfare officers if these are empty. All members of the welfare team have a steady supply of condoms, just contact one of us, and we can provide you with some. 

CUSU sells condoms, lubricant and latex gloves at cost price. You can drop into the CUSU office (17 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX) to pick them up or contact the CUSU Welfare Officer. They also have a small selection of free sexual health supplies.

Some contraceptives (e.g. the pill, diaphragm and cap) are available only through your GP or family planning clinic. Others can be brought over the counter from a chemist (e.g. morning after pill). If you wish to find out more about going on the pill or want to get a diaphragm, you will need to make an appointment with your GP. There’s absolutely no need to feel embarrassed about this, they do it all the time! 

Beyond the university, condoms are supplied free of charge by the Family Planning Association, Dhiverse, Centre 33, and some GPs. 

Emergency contraception

Had a condom split or missed a pill? Before you panic, remember that there are two types of emergency contraception available to you, to help prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Emergency contraceptive pill

The morning-after pill is available from any pharmacy and is free from the Boots in town. 

https://www.studentadvice.cam.ac.uk/welfare/pregnancy/emergencycontraception.html

These must be started within 3 days (72 hours) from the time you had sex. These pills may be referred to as ‘morning after’ pills, but this is misleading as they are effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. However, they are most effective if taken within the first 24 hours. You need to take the emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (Levonelle) or 5 days (ellaOne) of unprotected sex for it to be effective – the sooner you take it, the more effective it’ll be.

Emergency IUD (intrauterine device)

Can be fitted by a doctor or nurse up to 5 days from the time you had sex. Once it has been fitted you can keep it as a regular method of contraception. The IUD is more effective than the contraceptive pill at preventing pregnancy – according to the NHS, less than 1% of women who use the IUD get pregnant.

Locations

You can get free emergency contraception from:

  • most GPs
  • family planning clinics
  • most sexual health clinics (eg Lime Tree Clinic in Cambridge)
  • most genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
  • most NHS walk-in centres (in England only)
  • some hospital accident and emergency departments
  • over the counter from most chemists (eg Boots or Superdrug) for around £25 – Boots now offer the emergency contraception pill for free

Over 95% of women who take emergency contraceptive pills do not become pregnant. If the incident happens over the weekend, as well as Boots still being an option, you can also get it at other sexual health clinics.