This year, Sexual Health Week, Monday 15 to Friday 21 September, in Torbay will concentrate on contraception for young boys and young men following the introduction of an advisory support service specifically for them.

Karl Timmins has been appointed as Torbay Sexual Medical Service (TSMS) Boys and Young Men’s Worker and lead for the C-Card (condom card) Scheme. He said: “My role is to provide an accessible and confidential service from clinic based settings to schools or where young men feel most comfortable. The young people can access the service themselves or this can be done by referral.

“I provide information, advice and support to young men on issues around male health, healthy relationships, safety, attitudes towards partners and sexual health. I want young men to feel listened to as much as possible and remove barriers, both practically and in terms of listening to young men’s attitudes and feelings.”

Cllr Chris Lewis, Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Sexual health services are for everyone – regardless of their age, gender or sexual orientation. However, this week we are focusing on young males reminding them about the help and support that is available to them in the Bay.

“Access to good quality, unbiased information and support is vital for safe and happy relationships and we want to ensure that we offer this to young people so they can make informed choices about their lives.”

Boys and young men who have used the service have given back the following feedback:

“It is nice to talk openly without having someone judge you or tell you what you shouldn't be doing.” Young male, aged 14

“Sometimes you just need to go through issues with someone that cares.” Young male, aged 15

“I'm accessing C-card here because I know I can get the right advice and that they won't make fun or jokes about what I'm doing because they know what kids do.” Young male, aged 14

As part of the Sexual Health Week, TSMS wants to drive home the message that condoms are the only form of contraception which can minimise the risk of pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Condoms are free of charge to those under 25 registered under the C-Card Scheme. Registration for the scheme takes no longer than 15 minutes and the service is completely confidential. Young people are treated with respect and in a non-judgemental environment.

Dr Philip Kell, Consultant for the Torbay Sexual Medicine Service at South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We provide free and confidential testing and treatment services for sexually transmitted infections, along with advice on a wide range of sexual health and contraception issues. These services are provided from our base at Castle Circus Health Centre, and a number of community sites throughout the area.”

Young people in Torbay can access lots of information on the Sexwize website www.s-wize.co.uk. The site promotes sexual health for under 25 year olds in one convenient and confidential place. They can also sign up to Sexwize Facebook and Twitter accounts which have been set up to interact with young people about sexual health and relationships and can be found at www.facebook.com/sexwize and www.twitter.com/sexwize

A range of confidential services are provided to young people by TSMS, meaning that your information will remain secure in trust between you and the service. The only reason we would pass any information on would be to protect you or someone else from serious harm but we would always try to discuss this with you first.

These include:

- Open access contraception and sexual health services in Castle Circus Health Centre and clinics across Torbay. Call 01803 656500 for more details or to make a confidential appointment.
- A sexual health outreach team works across Torbay secondary schools and colleges to provide a range of treatments, advice and other services through drop-in sessions. Students can drop in to see a member of the sexual health team at their school to have a confidential conversation.
- Under 25s can register and access free condoms at approximately 70 outlets across Torbay through the C-Card Scheme. See Sexwize website for details.

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