It’s important to look after yourself during Freshers’ Week. This may seem fairly obvious, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget to eat regularly, or to drink enough water, or even to just take a break. Another thing it’s easy to forget is to take care of your sexual health. At some point during Freshers’ Week, and throughout the rest of the year, you or someone you know might have sex.
But when you’re in a new city it can be hard to navigate the sexual health services, plus getting used to university life can take priority over looking after yourself. In spite of this, it’s very important to remember to be safe and get tested! Luckily, qmunicate is here to guide you through some of the services available in Glasgow!
The key service you need to know about is Sandyford Central, an NHS Sexual Health Clinic in the Charing Cross area of Glasgow. They not only provide a wealth of information on their website about sex and relationships, but also a huge variety of sexual health facilities, including STI testing and treatment, gynaecology, contraception, and a gender identity service. Moreover, they provide valuable advice on a number of issues, including sexual assault, pregnancy termination, and sexual functioning. They even provide free emergency contraception! Overall, this makes Sandyford the best place to go if you have any concerns about your sexual health and wellbeing. You can book an appointment for their sexual health screening service on the phone – you may have to wait a few weeks wait to be seen, but if it’s urgent then they’ll fit you in!
Another wonderful organisation you should know about are Terrence Higgins, based on Sauchiehall Street. Primarily, they are a sexual health charity who focus on raising awareness of HIV, as well as supporting and providing services to those living with it. But they’re also the people to go to if you need access to quick HIV testing, as well as screenings for other STIs! Sexual health screenings can understandably be a bit daunting, but their friendly staff will quickly put you at ease. You can drop in on a Tuesday night from 5pm til 8pm, or make an appointment by phone!
But if you’re only looking for condoms, then the Queen Margaret Union is the place to be! The student-run free condom service is the second biggest free condom distributor in Scotland – second only to the NHS! Not bad huh? The service runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the cloakroom, which you’ll find opposite Tempo Tea Bar on the Ground Floor of the QMU. You can get everything from standard condoms, to lube, to femidoms! It’s also worth knowing that you can get free condoms and lube from any pharmacy in Scotland, alongside the morning after pill – just talk to your doctor or a pharmacist.
Finally, if you want any more detailed information about sexual health, or you want to get involved with educating students about it, then definitely check out Sexpression! They’re a nationwide organisation, run by students, who are dedicated to the development of sex education on university campuses and beyond. They do this through holding informal yet informative sessions in schools across the country, touching on both the physical and mental aspects of sex and relationships, with an aim to empower young people and spread the word about important issues from contraception to consent. They’re the people to go to if you’re interested in educating the masses about sex and relationships, or if you have any questions!
Terrence Higgins Scotland: http://www.tht.org.uk/our-charity/our-work/scotland
[Katie Fannin & Rose Jackson]