Taking care of ourselves – particularly when we work in an organisation dedicated to caring for others – can sometimes be overlooked.
However having regular health exams, tests and checking ourselves for lumps and bumps is really important and can help find problems before they start. Most adults are also sexually active and good sexual health is important not only to ourselves as individuals but also our wider communities.
This month’s Flourish initiative all about #MyPersonalHealth and covers a range of topics. It’s also Movember so if you are growing a moustache this month or doing anything else to raise awareness of men’s health issues, be sure to send us your photos!
Our personal health, including our sexual health, affects every one of us throughout the course of our lives. We may need:
• testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
• cervical screening
• advice and examination for changes to a testicle or breast
• information about prostate problems and prostate cancer
• HPV vaccination for children in our families
• pregnancy advice and options
• access to HIV prevention (PEP or PREP) or treatment
• support with menopausal symptoms
• help and support for psychosexual or erectile problems
It all started in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia with two friends. Now more than 5 million people later the Movember has a become global movement tackling prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
So if you are supporting this worthy cause by growing a moustache, hosting your own event to raise funds for men’s health, Moving for Movember (60km for the 60 men lost to suicide each hour across the world) or hosting a Mo-Ment in the workplace let us know.
We’d love to share your photographs on Instagram throughout the month.
Before reaching screening age and in between routine mammograms, it’s important to be breast aware. This means getting to know what is normal for you, knowing the signs and symptoms to look and feel for and reporting any changes of concern to your GP.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK and while testicular cancer is a less common cancer, it mostly affects men aged between 15 and 49 years of age. It is important to know the facts and take action early.
Many of us, no matter who our sexual partners are, will experience problems with sex at some point in our lives, roughly one in 10 men and one in two to three women. These can be either physical problems, such as painful sex or erection problems or psychological such as not feeling like having sex.
Help is available from GPs, specialist counselling services or from a psychosexual therapist.
On the road
While we all work in the NHS, our personal health can also be something we don’t often talk about so we’re taking to the road throughout November to offer support and advice.
Come and join us at our personal health and wellbeing stands, which will have a particular focus on sexual health.
Breaking down some of the myths around sexual health…
Lesbians don’t need to have a smear test
All women aged from 25 to 64 years old who have a cervix need to have a cervical smear regardless of who they sleep with or who they have slept with in the past. View information leaflet here.
I don’t ‘sleep around’ so I don’t need testing for STIs
Anyone can acquire a sexually transmitted infection; it could be from the first time that someone has any kind of sexual contact regardless of whether they have any penetrative sexual contact.
Infections are transmitted in sexual secretions and from skin to skin genital contact. Young people bear the highest rates of chlamydia infection in the UK and rates of STIs in older people are rising following growing numbers in relationship break-ups in this age group and then meeting new partners.
Changing attitudes to sex in our society are also encouraging more people to explore their sexuality, sexual practices and gender.
- Chlamydia screening for the Under 25’s: checkyourbits.org
- Sex as you get older: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/sex-as-you-get-older/
- Sexual Health and relationships for the Over 50’s: fpa.org.uk/sites/default/files/people-over-50-relationships-and-sexual-health.pdf
I’m not at risk of HIV from my sexual partners’
Anyone can be at risk of HIV if they have had sex without a condom. Know your HIV status by getting an HIV test. HIV isn’t an infection that kills if it is diagnosed early.
The life expectancy of someone of effective treatment is equal to that of a person without HIV. Someone on treatment where their levels of the virus are undetectable cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners.
New Croft Sexual Health Service Information
The sexual health service in Newcastle is the New Croft Centre based at Market Street East in the city centre. It is a free and confidential service for anyone aged 13 years plus and you do not have to live within Newcastle to access the service.
The team run a range of clinics with both walk-in and booked appointments available.
Should you wish to attend please be reassured that we would not routinely inform your GP, HR or Occupational Health of your attendance and our electronic patient records are separate to a general health record so cannot be viewed by anyone who is not a staff member of the sexual health service.
What’s your status?
Do you know your HIV status? If you’ve never tested for HIV or it’s been a while since your last test, why not find out?
PrEP Research Trial
New Croft Clinic are currently taking part in this national study which offers eligible participants an oral medication to reduce the risk of becoming HIV positive through unprotected sex
HPV – The Key Facts
HPV is the name of a very common group of viruses. Find out more in our key facts sheet.