Didn’t manage to keep your sexual health resolutions in 2015? It’s easier than you might think to make a fresh start in 2016.
Here are three simple ways to ensure a safer, healthier sexual and reproductive life this year and beyond.
1. Find a contraceptive method that works (and you can stick to)
Every method of birth control is different, which means that what works for your best friend or your sister might not work for you. This year – as soon as possible in fact – make it your mission to find the one that fits into your life so you can stick with it for as long as you need to.
If you’re already using birth control but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, investigate your contraceptive options. Bear in mind that as a woman, your needs change over time – for example, when your relationship status changes, or if you’re suddenly required to travel a lot, for example.
Make an appointment to see your doctor or visit the nurses at a clinic like Marie Stopes, and find out about the options available. This is recommended whether you’re just about to start using contraceptives or if you’re looking for a new method. Very important: always use dual protection when you have sex – only condoms can protect against HIV and STIs.
2. If you fall pregnant, make the choice that’s right for YOU
If you find yourself facing pregnancy, either wanted or unwanted, the bottom line is that it’s your body, and therefore your choice, whatever you decide to do.
You can choose to parent, to give the child up for adoption, or to terminate the pregnancy. Should you choose termination, remember that abortion, carried out by trained and registered professionals, is safe and legal. It’s simple and straightforward when performed by trained doctors and nurses in a sterile, well-equipped facility.
Always opt for a safe, legal abortion provider like Marie Stopes, where a doctor or nurse will provide pre-care information on the day of your appointment, as well as aftercare materials to make sure you know what to expect when you get home. They’re also available to answer any questions you might have (and it’s totally confidential).
Practice preventative health care by getting to know your body
Preventative healthcare is all about becoming familiar with your body so that you’ll know as soon as anything changes, and you’ll be able to take action.
Being a ‘well woman’ is one of the most effective ways to take charge of your body, especially as you age and your body changes and experiences new challenges. So, make sure you have your annual well-woman check-up at your gynae or a clinic like Marie Stopes. This check-up will help you understand your personal health risks and how to manage them. It will include a pap smear, STI screening, HIV testing and counselling, as well as a breast examination to check for irregularities.
Remember: early diagnosis of illnesses can go a long way towards effectively treating the disease and potentially saving your life.
Ready to make a resolution you can keep? Make your appointment at Marie Stopes and take the biggest step towards better reproductive and sexual health in 2016.