‘Safe sex’ is sex where you are using contraception which will protect you from catching a sexually transmitted infection, becoming pregnant or from making somebody else pregnant. We’ve included some important information about where you can access contraception whilst studying in Leeds, remember, it is your right to be able to use contraception whenever you have sex.
Whilst you're studying at University it's good to get to know the local organisations.
Leeds Sexual Health is a brilliant service that offers Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screening and treatment, HIV testing and contraception services. The website is really easy to use and is a great place for information, advice and support so you can decide what is right for you when having safe sex.
Organisations such as Yorkshire MESMAC also offer services to various communities across Yorkshire, including African and other BAME people as well as LGBT+ young people and adults. Alongside sexual health screenings and advice, they also offer consultancy and counselling services.
Emergency contraception can be taken up to 5 days after having unprotected sex. There are two types of emergency contraception; the oral emergency contraceptive pill which is available from your GP, a sexual health pharmacy or Leeds Sexual Health and the emergency coil which can only be fitted by a specially trained doctor or nurse. This may be available from your GP but is otherwise available from Leeds Sexual Health.
If there is any doubt that you may have had unprotected sex, it is better for you to speak to your GP or visit Leeds Sexual Health for the advice and information you need. If you wish to access emergency contraception, it is important to let the receptionist know what you need when you are booking an appointment, so that you are seen quicker.
If you are under 25 you can apply to be a part of the C-Card Scheme. As a member you have access to free condoms (external and internal), lubricant and oral/dental dams as well as lots of information and advice. All you need to do is pay a visit to the Student Welfare office to ask about the C-Card. Alternatively, you can find your nearest C-Card registration point.
If you are under 18, the Young People's clinic in the Merrion Centre may be most suitable for you. It is a dedicated sexual health clinic for under 18s, open on Monday + Tuesday 3 - 5:30pm and Wednesday + Thursday 3.30 - 5.30pm.
Over 25? You are able to access condoms if you visit one of the Leeds Sexual Health Clinics. The Centre for Sexual Health is right in town, located on the first floor of the Merrion Centre, so really easy to get to. Have a look on the map here.
STAY SAFE & GET TESTED
If you have unprotected sex and do not use a condom or other protective contraception, you are at a much greater risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI’s). Infections can pass to from person to person through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, by genital contact and through sharing sex toys. Infections spread in this way are known as sexually transmitted infections.
Many STI’s have no symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested and remember, you don’t need to have lots of sexual partners to get an infection. Visit your GP or the sexual health clinic if;
you have symptoms of an STI
a sexual partner has symptoms of an STI
you're worried after having sex without a condom
Some STI’s such as chlamydia are more common, with 1 in 12 young people infected. Freetest.me is an online postal service that offers free chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV tests, depending on the region. Since chlamydia is so common, it is recommended that anyone under 25 that is sexually active get a chlamydia test once a year or whenever they change sexual partner.
If you have a chlamydia test and discover that you've tested positive (have an infection), there is no need to panic. Chlamydia can be easily treated with a simple course of antibiotics. Quick diagnoses and treatment will reduce any risk of long-term health problems. So we’ll say it again to you; if you’re concerned you may have STI visit your GP or Leeds Sexual Health as soon as you can!
THE CONSENT COLLECTIVE
The University has partnered with the Consent Collective, which is an in-depth, year-round, expert-led, ever-growing selection of online resources to support you and our Leeds Arts community. They work to blend a wealth of expertise with activism to help communities talk about sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic abuse and trauma.
Using this informative online learning material, we can support students and staff living with a history of sexual or domestic abuse, and reduce the likelihood of such incidents by maintaining a safe culture at our institution. In response to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Consent Collective have now included the 'Together Apart' programme into their catalogue. This is a series of discussions and videos designed to help those dealing with heightened stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic and provide some coping mechanisms for dealing with this.
All of us need to learn about the impact of consent, power, relationships and how to be a supportive member of a community that is safe for everyone. These are life skills that we will all need as we navigate our professional and personal relationships. To access this library of helpful information and support, you can sign in online using your University email address.
WHAT IS CONSENT?
Consent means giving permission for something to happen or agreeing to do something and being comfortable with that decision. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, how you identify your sexuality or whether you’re in a long or short term relationship, if you’re planning to do anything sexual then all parties must give consent.
Consent and good communication are an essential pairing in a healthy relationship, as it’s crucial to hear and respect the other person’s wishes. You need to take responsibility for seeking consent from your partner every time you have a sexual encounter, as people can change their mind at any point, even during sex. Just because someone consented to something once, it still means you have to ask again as they could feel differently from last time; likewise consent to one sort of sexual activity does not mean consent to everything.