FRENCH STUDIES STUDENT, KATHERINE, TELLS US WHERE TO SEEK SEXUAL HEALTH ADVICE IN THE LOCAL AREA…
Being at university and living away from home may mean you want to (or need to) visit a sexual health clinic – and why not! In Reading there are loads of easy, free and confidential ways to get advice, help and treatment if it’s ever needed on a huge range of things. It’s better to be safe than sorry and I speak from personal experience saying the below organisations are completely non-judgemental and offer great advice if nothing else.
For all types of sexual health
The Florey Sexual Health and Contraceptive Services is a department of the Royal Berkshire Hospital and is based in a building opposite the main hospital, on Craven Road. They offer a huge amount of services such as all types of contraception, the morning after pill (which can actually be taken up to five days after), sexual assault support, specialist LGBT services, HIV clinic and STD screening and treatment advice. This is all totally free and confidential, and you don’t need to be registered with a GP in Reading to be able to use the service. It’s a sit and wait system, where you fill in a form stating the reason for your visit (you can use a fake name, though if you return, remember that your previous records will be kept under that name!), and then wait about an hour and you will be seen. A bonus is that contraception such as condoms or the pill will be given to you right then and there! They’re open 7am-7pm every weekday and some Saturday mornings, check out their website for more info: http://www.royalberkshire.nhs.uk/florey-sexualhealth.htm
Regular STD testing
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but regular STD testing can be quite important, as untreated sexually transmitted diseases can cause your body a lot of damage. Luckily, Berkshire and RUSU have lots of different options of how you can get tested if you don’t have time or don’t want to visit the local sexual health clinic in person. All you need to do is provide a sample of urine, though females have the option to take their own vaginal swab, which gives more accurate results.
You can order a free chlamydia test online at www.dontpassiton.co.uk which includes a postage paid return envelope that you just put your test in and post back in any normal post box – the one in RUSU works! All the instructions are online and come on paper with your test. The package you receive will be totally inconspicuous and the test is so easy to do; then you get your results discreetly sent to you about 7 working days later.
RUSU have teamed up with The Florey to offer ‘Testing Tuesdays’ inside the union, on each first Tuesday of the month. The next one coming is on the 6th March from 4-6pm and the friendly team will be stationed in the corridor outside Café Mondial in RUSU.