Phones, clothes and cash are probably top of most young people’s Christmas wish lists - and sexual health workers in Walsall are keen to help them avoid any unexpected surprises.
The festive season, with its parties, events and often easy access to alcohol, can result in young people taking risks and having unplanned sex. And Walsall integrated Sexual Health (WiSH) staff want to raise awareness of the implications of unprotected sex and the support that is available.
This week they launched their bus poster campaign which is being featured across 60 buses in the Walsall area. The posters remind young people that the consequences of unprotected sex can include unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and urges them to use a condom. The posters are also being displayed in GP surgeries across the borough and centres where young people are likely to visit.
Carol Williams, Teenage Pregnancy Operational Lead for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The last thing we want to do is spoil anyone’s fun this Christmas but it is a time of year where young people are more vulnerable.
“They are likely to be unsupervised more because their parents or carers are working or rushing around trying to make all the preparations associated with the festive season and could therefore be more likely to take risks. We just want young people to stop and think about the likely consequences of unprotected sex because those consequences could last a lifetime.
“We want to remind young people that there are a number of sexual health services they can access for support and advice and that they can make use of emergency contraception, health screening and pregnancy testing.”
Under 25s who want to talk to someone about sexual health, puberty, relationships, how to access services, or being pressured into doing something they’re not comfortable with can TEXT OKAY, a confidential service.
The Young People’s Contraception and Sexual Health Nurses, empowers young people to make safe choices about their sexual health; ensuing they’re armed with accurate information, rather than myths, rumours and hear say. They have established the TEXT OKAY service.
The TEXT OKAY service can be reached by texting the word OKAY to 64446. If you text that number you don’t have to give your name, just answer Yes or No to the questions asked. You can ask any question you like, anything that is concerning you or that you want to get off your chest.
Check out the Wish website at www.walsallsexualhealth.co.uk for more information.