Community health experts are backing a national campaign to encourage condom use by young people.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is backing Public Health England’s Protect Against STIs campaign, which aims to reduce the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among 16 to 24-year-olds through promoting condom usage.
The trust delivers free and confidential sexual health services across Northumberland, including sexual health advice, contraception and STI screening.
Clinical Lead Dr Helen McIlveen said: “Condoms remain essential in the fight against STIs, as well as HIV, and we recommend using them for sex with any new or casual partners.
“We also urge anyone who is concerned about their sexual health or the risk of contracting an STI to have a check-up — it is quick and easy to do.
“Our sexual health clinics in Northumberland and North Tyneside offer free and confidential sexual health services, including treatment for sexually transmitted infections and contraception, including condoms.
“People can visit any sexual health clinic — it doesn’t have to be one in their local area.”
She added: “In addition, young people can register for the condom card scheme (C-Card), which is a free service offering condoms and sexual health information to young people. Once they’ve registered they can use their card at any distribution point to pick up free condoms.”
“Information about services across Northumberland and North Tyneside is available on our website or by downloading our free app. This includes where to find clinics, where to get free condoms, an online symptom checker and advice about testing and support.”
Coun Veronica Jones, Northumberland County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Wellbeing and Health said: “The highest rates of sexually transmitted infections are still found in young people.
“They can often occur without symptoms and if left untreated, they can be unknowingly transmitted to partners and lead to serious long-term or even permanent health problems.
“We want young people to experience the best sexual health they can and the consistent, confident and correct use of condoms is really the best way of reducing the risk of getting most STIs.”
To find out more about the service or to download the app visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/sexualhealth