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Christmas is a time of giving, but with the party season in full swing, you could be getting more than you bargained for this festive season.
That’s because at Christmas and New Year, where we drink more alcohol, meet more people and socialise more regularly, there’s an increased likelihood of us having more unplanned sex.
And with alcohol loosening our inhibitions and clouding our judgement, there’s an increased risk of us having unprotected sex or forgetting to take our contraceptive pills – leading to increased sexual health problems.
The most effective way to make sure you don’t catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is to practice safe sex by using a condom.
But we live in an age where people are fairly easygoing with sex, and at ‘high-risk’ times like Christmas, New Year or summer holidays, people don’t always take the usual precautions.
Inevitably, that means that some people will contract an STI during the festive season, so you have to make sure you get checked out before it causes any problems for you or your partner.
Getting checked for STIs is incredibly important – as a number of them have no apparent symptoms at all. With gonorrhoea, the second-most common bacterial STI in the UK after chlamydia, around 1 in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women don’t experience any symptoms at all, and don’t realise it’s affecting their fertility.
This means there may be people who have the disease and don’t know it, allowing it to go untreated for some time and spread to other partners.
While there’s an increased likelihood of us having more unplanned sex during the festive season, it’s not just sexual intercourse that can cause STIs – you can also catch them through oral sex.
Although there’s less risk than through anal or vaginal sex, the most common STIs you can catch through oral sex are gonorrhoea and chlamydia, which can be passed on through the throat.
You can also get syphilis or genital warts, but the transmissions of diseases like HIV through oral sex are miniscule. If you have problems with your mouth, teeth or gums, your risk of transmission is higher and you should avoid having unprotected oral sex.
If you want to be proactive and make sure you don’t have an STI, or if you’ve had unprotected sex and you’re concerned you may have caught one, our sexual health team are here to help.
Led by Dr Lyndsey Myskow, one of Scotland’s leading experts, our team provide the complete range of STI/STD tests, with the highest level of care and with complete confidentiality.
As well as having unprotected sex during the festive season, there’s also an increased risk of girls and women forgetting to take their contraceptive pills – leading to an increased risk of unplanned pregnancies.
Throughout the year, never mind at this busy time of year when we’re drinking and socialising more than ever, a lot of women are looking for contraception they don’t have to worry about.
They can’t always remember to take their pill every day, so they’re looking for something reliable. And that’s where contraceptive implants and coils are extremely effective.
At YourGP, we provide a comprehensive range of contraception advice and care at our private health practices in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and there are a number of other options on offer.
Our previous blog post, looking at various types of contraception, will be able to help you choose the contraception that’s right for you.
To find out more about our sexual health service or contraception advice and care, or to book an appointment, contact our Edinburgh clinic on 0131 225 5656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about contraception and make sure you have the best method to suit your needs, or if you have any questions about sexual health in general, you can get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
I never imagined being able to open up and discuss so deeply my early life abuse, held back by embarrassment and fear, with Dr Myskow – for the first time ever – I felt completely safe and supported; not judged or disbelieved on any level. I would say she genuinely cares and has helped me immensely