Sexual Health

COVID has impacted everyone’s lives including young people and their sexual and reproductive health. Ordinarily, young people would be able to freely attend services offered at Brandon Centre. Coronavirus restrictions have spurred services into delivering sexual and reproductive healthcare in innovative ways. Normally, a mix of appointments and drop in sessions were offered at Brandon Centre. During these sessions, young people could attend for contraception, sexual health testing, advice, pregnancy testing, emergency contraception, sexually transmitted infection management to name a few. Now, patients are triaged over the phone and collecting contraception from reception, signposted to online testing, directed to pharmacies for emergency contraception, leaving face to face appointments to those who absolutely need them.

Unfortunately, access to emergency contraception has reduced, maybe due to ‘lockdown’ which in turn prevented most people meeting for sex. Concern is for the wellbeing of young people during lockdown with higher than normal reported cases of domestic and sexual violence. There is also concern that there maybe many young people being subjected to abuse. The early months of lockdown caused alarm because the number of young people attending sexual health services fell dramatically across the country.

Privacy for young people

Privacy for young people presents an issue. They are no longer able to call for advice because there is a parent in the next room. Attending services has become a challenge. Young people are having to explain to parents why they are going out during lockdown. Positively, access to earlier termination of pregnancies has increased.

Brandon Centre can proudly say it has remained open, albeit for reduced hours, during the Coronavirus pandemic. Other sexual health services have closed or reduced activity severely in order to redeploy clinical staff to COVID wards. Whilst COVID usually comes with negative connotations, and we probably still aren’t aware of the full impact it has had, it is a great opportunity to celebrate the positive change to the way services are offered and the way in which we have united as teams.

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