CONDOMS, chlamydia testing and sexual health advice are on offer to teenagers in Sunderland through a new key fob scheme.
Fourteen to 24-year-olds can sign up for the C-Card, which has been launched by health and council chiefs, giving young people information on contraception, drugs, alcohol and other issues.
The scheme aims to help reduce teenage pregnancies and substance misuse and make help and advice easily available across the city.
When young people register for a C-Card, they get a bar-coded key fob which they can use not only to access information but also to get condoms and chlamydia testing kits from more than 50 places, including youth clubs, hospitals and medical walk-in centres.
The C-Card is a joint initiative between Sunderland City Council and NHS South of Tyne and Wear which covers Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT).
Pat Smith, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for children and learning city, said: “The aim of the C-Card is to encourage young people to actively seek help and advice by making it more accessible through this electronic registration system.
“They will be able to access services in the kind of places they most visit and feel comfortable in, where our staff will also be on hand to help.
“This kind of new approach will allow us all, health professionals and young people, to work together and address issues such as reducing teenage pregnancies and substance abuse.”
Nonnie Crawford, director of public health, Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Teaching PCT, said: “We want young people to have accurate information and feel comfortable accessing sexual health services.
“The C-Card scheme provides young people with easy access to professional advice and support, and if it’s appropriate, contraception, so that when they are ready to have sex, they do safely using a reliable method of contraception that protects them from sexually- transmitted infections as well as an unwanted pregnancy.”