A SCHEME to help young people on Wearside look after their sexual health has proved a success.
The electronic C-Card project has helped more than 2,600 14 to 24-year-olds across Sunderland to find advice and services since it was launched in June last year. It works by storing a person’s details on a fob.
Holders of the cards can then access services related to sexual and other health matters.
The scheme has so far distributed more than 53,000 condoms, more than 500 chlamydia tests and led to a number of referrals to the Youth Drug and Alcohol Project (YDAP).
People who register can get sexual health advice from more than 200 trained health staff at 87 different venues in Sunderland, such as hospitals and walk-in centres.
Helping to promote the scheme alongside Jean Phillips of the Youth Information Shop, Hollie, 21, from Shiney Row, said: “Young people are often too embarrassed to ask for help or advice on things like sex, but registering for the C-Card scheme is simple and the staff are really friendly.
“They put you at your ease and give you honest answers to the questions you often wanted to ask, but were always unsure of who to go to for help.”
Hollie, who did not want to give her surname, added: “People use the scheme because the condoms are free and can prevent unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.”
Nonnie Crawford, director of public health for Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, said: “The C-Card scheme provides young people with easy access to professional advice and support and if appropriate contraception, so that when they are ready to have sex, they do so safely, using a reliable method of contraception that protects them from sexually-transmitted infections as well as pregnancy.”
Coun Pat Smith, portfolio holder for children’s health services at the city council, said: “Unwanted teenage pregnancies and chlamydia are national problems which we want to help young people in our city to avoid.
“The C-Card helps by encouraging more young people to actively seek help and advice, by making it more accessible and confidential, with staff available at the type of venues where young people gather and feel most comfortable in.
“This kind of approach allows health professionals and young people to work together and address issues such as reducing teenage pregnancy and substance misuse.”
For more information about the card scheme visit www.yourhealthsunderland.com/c-card.