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University Health Centre responds to sexual health survey

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The University’s Health Centre has responded to accusations that students have found it difficult to access the morning-after pill on campus.

In a survey conducted by the Boar, which revealed a third of students had taken some form of emergency contraception, a number of students expressed difficulties accessing the morning-after pill, whilst 56.6% of people felt that there is not adequate sexual health education at the university.

According to the survey, 49.1% of students also felt that the University do not have adequate provision for STI testing, and 54.9% believed that the university has inadequate provision for STI treatment and emergency contraception.

One student explained that the health centre advised her to “travel to the Coventry centre to reach a pharmacy”, even though there was a nearby Boots that provided the pill free to under 25s.

The Health Centre have since responded: “We can only apologise if this patient feels that she was incorrectly advised. However, this does not reflect the usual advice that would be given regarding access to emergency contraception.”

For other medication, the centre affirmed: “As we are not a dispensing practice, we do not stock medication on site. We issue prescriptions for this type of medication, but there is no charge levied at the pharmacy.”

Another student complained that the staff were ‘exceedingly judgemental’, and had told her that she was ‘probably already pregnant’ and that she ‘could not control supposed sexual urges’.

The Health Centre addressed the issue, stating: “We were extremely disheartened to read the statement from your respondent. We are a non-judgemental team and provide an extensive and professional sexual health service to all our patients.”

We are a non-judgemental team and provide an extensive and professional sexual health service to all our patients

“We have not received any complaint but would be happy to look at any patient’s case if they are not happy with any advice they have received.”

The Health Centre went on to clarify the services available, such as chlamydia testing; however, for other STI tests, students must visit clinics in the surrounding areas, or the termly GUM clinics.

With this information in mind, one student expressed their desire for more frequent GUM clinics each term:

“More regular gum clinics are needed on campus and in Leamington. You should get tested regularly and one clinic a term isn’t good enough, as people may not be able to attend.”

Despite this, the recent survey by the Boar revealed that 46% of respondents have never been tested for STI, even though two thirds said that they had had unprotected sex, of which 13% have unprotected sex regularly.

Additionally, only 9% of students had undergone testing in the last year.

Other support at the Health Centre includes pregnancy testing, referral for termination of pregnancy, and advice and referral for psychosexual problems or sexual dysfunction.

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