SHAG Week: Express and Protect Yourself

With 15 methods of free contraception available in the UK, there are plenty of options available to you. Find out more in this blog from SU President, Hannah Hockin.

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Don’t be silly, wrap that willy!

Contraception helps to protect against pregnancy and STIs. In the UK, there are 15 methods of contraception available, which are all free to access on the NHS. You can access contraception from your GP or sexual health clinic.

Which method of contraception you choose is entirely up to you, it’s worth taking time to find out more about each method to decide which suits you best.

Some contraceptives are long-term methods, which means you don’t need to remember to take or use, called long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Others are short-term meaning you must remember to take them daily or use them every time you have sex, these are called short-acting contraception (SAC).

Barrier contraceptives are the only way to protect you from STIs such as latex or polyurethane internal/external condoms and dental dams.

There is a range of different contraception options:

  • Caps or diaphragms
  • Combined pill
  • Condoms (98% effective) The Students’ Union has free condoms that you can collect from the Advice Centre!
  • Contraceptive implant
  • Contraceptive injection
  • Contraceptive patch
  • Female condoms
  • IUD (intrauterine device or coil)
  • IUS (intrauterine system or hormonal coil)
  • Natural family planning (fertility awareness)
  • Progestogen-only pill
  • Vaginal ring

Permanent methods:

  • Female sterilisation
  • Male sterilisation also known as a vasectomy

Reach out to your GP if you’d like to discuss which option would suit you best and the next steps.

Emergency contraception:

  • The emergency contraceptive pill also known as the morning-after pill (Levonelle or ellaOne)
  • The Intrauterine device (IUD or coil)

Contraception clinics, some GP surgeries and most pharmacies offer the morning-after pill for free. However, you usually have to buy it from most pharmacies which costs around £25-£35. Read more about both types of emergency contraception on the NHS website.