Sexual Health

We are able to help with all aspects of your sexual and reproductive health, providing a confidential and friendly service.

Contraception

Free condoms are available in the Health Centre waiting room or you can make an appointment with the Nurse for a condom script (fee may apply).

You need to make a Doctor's appointment for contraceptive pill prescription or to get the depo-provera injection.

Dr Price does carry out contraceptive rod insertion with mirena IUD (intra-uterine device). You will need to make an appointment with her first to discuss this and then another appointment to have the procedure.

Make a Nurse appointment if you would like a pregnancy test.

A fee applies for International Students when discussing any form of contraception as this is not covered by the insurance companies.

Family Planning are another option for contraceptive rod insertion (or removal) or copper or mirena IUD insertion. You can make an appointment with Family Planning directly by phone:

https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/clinics/christchurch

https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/clinics/hornby-christchurch

or over the internet:

https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/contact

The Family Planning website also has an advice section regarding all the different types of contraception. It can be useful to look at all the options before you discuss which one would be best for you with the Doctor.

https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/advice/contraception

 

Emergency contraception

The emergency contraceptive pill (ECP or morning after pill) is available if you have had unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy (no contraception or the condom split or came off during sex).

It needs to be taken as soon as possible and is most effective if taken within 24 hours. It has a success rate of 98% for women of average weight when taken within four days of unprotected sex.

The ECP is not as effective one the egg has been fertilised. The ECP is less effective for women who weigh more than 70kg and for these women, a copper IUD is recommended. If you decide you want to take the ECP, you should take a double dose - two ECP's together.

The Copper IUD is an alternative method of emergency contraception. It is inserted by a Doctor or a trained Nurse up to five days after the egg is released, and it's almost 100% effective. It has the advantage of providing long-term contraception and being effective for heavier women.

When you make an appointment at reception, ask for an URGENT appointment with the Nurse.

The emergency contraceptive pill is also available from pharmacies although there is a charge for this, or the Family Planning Clinic.

 

Do You Need An STI Check?

If you have had unprotected sex, have a new partner (or more than one partner), or if for any reason you are worried you have been exposed to a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), you should strongly consider getting tested. People ofent choose to do STI checks before they start a new relationship.

Ideally we do the STI swab tests 2 weeks after you had the sexual contact, as testing before this time may result in us missing a developing infection, this is called the 'window period'.

UNLESS you have symptoms (discharge/drip/abnormal blood spotting from vagina, penis or bottom, sore(s) or a rash on penis, vagina or bottom or body, pain/discomfort when passing urine (peeing) or pain/discomfort in lower tummy, bottom or genital area) in which case make an URGENT appointment and we will assess, test and treat you straight away. This is to avoid a more serious infection going untreated, while we wait for results.

For women, we are aiming to reduce your risk of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can have longer term health complications.

REMEMBER...

STIs are really common, and most people will get at least one in their lifetime.

Most young people with an STI do not even know that they have it, BUT if you leave an STI untreated it could spread to other people you have sex with and there could be more serious health problems down the road.

If you use a condom every time you have sex, you are much less likely to get an STI. https://www.justthefacts.co.nz/about-your-body/all-facts-about-condoms

Getting tested and treated for STIs is really easy and painless. The testing involves a urine sample for males. For females, you can choose for the health professional to take the swabs or to do self swabs.

You can make an appointment at the Health Centre with a Nurse or a GP. We would recommend doing this if you have any current symptoms - ask for an urgent appointment.

If you are enrolled as a patient at the Health Centre, you could also complete the STI Testing Questionnaire, drop it off at the box at reception or email to: Dutynurse@canterbury.ac.nz. We will let you know when your test kit is available for collection and you can do the self tests. We will inform you of the results by text/phone or email and organise treatment if you need it.

 STI Self Testing Questionnaire

Self Swab Vaginal Instructions

Self Swab Anal instruction

Self swabs Pharyngeal instruction

Self test urine STI instruction

 

Confidentiality: we are here to listen not tell: the only reason we might have to consider contacting another service or professional without your permission would be to protect you or someone else from serious harm and we would always try to discuss this with you first.

INFORMATION ON STI

https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/advice/sexually-transmissible-infections/what-is-an-sti

https://www.justthefacts.co.nz

These websites have information on:

  • The common STIs that we screen for - Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Trichomonas
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The STIs that we cannot screen for but we can diagnose at an appointment, or we may do additional tests for these are - Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Pubic Lice.

Blood borne STIs and STIs which we can check with a blood test are - HIV, Syphilis. There is information on Hepatitis B and C on this website: https://hepcinfo.co.nz/

 

When to consider testing for Blood Borne Virus (remember to consider your risk and the risk or previous partners)

HIV - you should consider gettings tested for HIV if:

  • you are a male who has sex with males
  • you've ever had tattoos or piercings using non-sterile equipment
  • you've ever injected drugs using non-sterile needles
  • have been in prison
  • have been sexually assaulted
  • have Hepatitis B or C

Hep B - is part of the National Immunisation Schedule therefore if you have had your routine childhood vaccines you will not be at risk of this. You should consider getting tested for Hep B if:

  • are of Maori, Pacific, or Asian ethnicity
  • have been sexually assaulted
  • are a male who has sex with males
  • have been in prison
  • have Hepatitis C or HIV
  • are having chemotherapy or take immunity-suppressing medicines
  • work in a job that puts you at increased risk, e.g. if you are a healthcare worker

Hep C - you should consider getting tested for Hepatitis C if:

  • your mother had Hepatitis C
  • you've ever been in prison
  • you've ever had tattoos or piercings using non-sterile equipment
  • you've every injected drugs using non-sterile needles
  • you've ever had a blood transfusion before 1992
  • you've lived in, or received medical or dental tratment in, Southeast Asia, China, Eastern Europe, or the Middle East (hepatitis C is common in these areas).

Syphilis is on the increase in NZ and you should consider testing for this if:

  • you have had any unprotected intercourse (vaginal, anal, oral). The infection rates are higher for men who have sex with men

 

WINDOW PERIOD FOR BLOOD TESTING

When we do blood tests for an STI, we often recommend that we repeat the blood test after 3 months. This is to cover the window period. Tests done too early may be falsely negative if the infection is still developing and so may not be accurate. You can pass on an STI during the window period.

PARTNER NOTIFICATION

Partner notification is when you tell someone you have been in contact with an STI and advise them to get tested and treated, even if their test results are negative. This is also called contact tracing.

Why should you notify sexual contacts?

  • To avoid getting a STI back again from an untreated sexual contact
  • It helps to stop the spread of STIs - unless they get tested, people often don't know they have an STI and can spread it to others without knowing

Who do you need to contact?

  • Usually anyone you have had sexual contact with (including oral, vaginal or anal sex) in the last 3 months, even if you used condoms.

When should you do this?

  • as soon as possible after finding out that you have an STI
  • before you have sex with an untreated contact.

How could you do this?

  • There are many ways of telling sexual contacts: face-to-face, on the telephone, SMS/Messaging Aps/Email, give them an information sheet

Things to think about when deciding how best to tell your sexual contact(s)

  • How safe is it for you to tell your sexual contact(s)? If you have concerns, please discuss this with your Doctor or Nurse. What contact details do you have for your sexual contact(s)?
  • How you would like to be told yourself
  • Make sure you have the correct informatin to answer any questions and correct any myths about the STI. You can download info from the links above.

 

REMEMBER ..... STIs are usually easy to test for and treat.

Most STIs are passed on by people who don't know they have one, as they often don't have any signs or symptoms.

Just because you were tested first, doesn't mean that you had the infection first.

 

Cervical Screening

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, which is why it is so important to get screened regularly. A cervical screen every three years reduces your risk of developing cervical cancer by 90%.

Cervical screening is a national screening program aimed at picking up early cell changes in the cervix (the neck of the womb) before they are at a stage of turning into a cancer. If these changes are picked up, most just need to be monitored but some women may need treatment in a specialist clinic. Early treatment like this avoids a cancer developing.

Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus )HPV). This is a common virus that you can get through sexual contact. We can vaccinate now against the most important types of HPV.

Women are eligible for cervical screening from the age of 20 to 70 once they are sexually active. You should consider screening even if you:

  • have been immunised against HPV
  • have been through menopause
  • are no longer having sex
  • have had a subtotal hysterectomy (where the cervix is not removed)
  • are a lesbian
  • are a transgender man
  • have had an abnormal cervical screening test but no longer have a cervix

You can book with a Nurse for cervical screening. This is an internal examination so the Nurse can make sure that the vagina and cervix look healthy and then they take the screening sample. They can also take STI swabs at the time of the cervical screening.

All of the Health Centre Nurses are experts in cervical screening and carry out many of these tests every week. They will make you feel welcome and do their best to make the experience quick and comfortable. They will also be able to answer any questions you have about cervical screening.

If you feel embarrassed, nervous or have any concerns when you go to your appointment, tell the Nurse or Doctor. You are also welcome to bring a support person to your appointment, such as a friend, family member or your partner.

 

HPV Vaccine

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that you get through sexual contact.

The courses of 3 vaccines are available FREE for both female and male New Zealand residents, up to and including 26 years of age. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that are most associated with cervical cancer in women and oesophageal cancer in men.

It is available for a fee for International Students.

Book with the Nurse to have this vaccine

To register or make an appointment, please contact us.