Sexual Health

Sexual Health the basics:

You are at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) if you have unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex. For more information about STIs and prevention, see:
www.nhs.uk/Livewell/STIs/Pages/Sexualactivitiesandrisk.aspx

Sexual Health at Festivals:

The best way of avoiding STIs (or unwanted pregnancies if you are female ) is not to have sex – but it would be unrealistic to expect this of all festival goers. So we have other (and better) advice than abstinence. The second best way of avoiding STIs and unwanted pregnancy is through using condoms.

Firstly sort out your favoured choice of contraceptive before you leave home and remember to pack it! It’s not a good idea to switch to a new method just before the festival, in case it doesn’t suit you. If you think there is any chance you may have sex with new sexual partners at the festival pack some condoms too. These may be available at various locations such as the pharmacies and general stores on site but it’s a good idea to have a few with you. Sometimes there are also free condoms that can be collected from the Welfare tents.

You can also purchase the ‘morning after’ pill from on site festival pharmacies. This can be taken up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex, but the sooner it is taken, the more effective it is. The health services on site are not part of the NHS so all prescriptions, including the ‘morning after’ pill will incur a charge. An alternative type of emergency contraception is insertion of an intrauterine device or coil, but this will not be an option on the festival site.

Anyone can access the health services provided by Festival Medical Services and be assured that they are completely confidential between you and the doctor or nurse you see. If you do not want your details shared with your local GP they will not be. The only exceptions to this might be if there are concerns that someone is being exploited or abused in some way. Which brings us to the issue of consent: it is really important to make sure that the person you are having sex with has consented, and that this consent has been freely given while they are not drunk or under the influence of drugs. Both alcohol and recreational drugs can affect someone’s judgement or ability to give informed consent to having sex, and if you take advantage of this in any way, you are breaking the law.

Finally it is important to think about HIV and sexual health. Not everyone who has HIV knows they have it, or if they do know, not everyone will tell new sexual partners about it. If you believe you may have had unprotected sex with someone who has HIV, then there is a treatment called PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which could prevent you developing the infection. This is most effective if the treatment course is started within 24 hours, but it is not normally available on site and you will need to speak to someone in Medical or Welfare who can identify local NHS facilities you could attend.

Below are some further links where you can find useful information:

www.fpa.org.uk
www.tht.org.uk/sexual-health
www.brook.org.uk
www.gmfa.org.uk