Solent Students’ Union are encouraging students to Get-It-On safely this winter.
Solent Students’ Union (Solent SU) is now a Get-It-On (GIO) Centre, making Solent University the first university in Hampshire to provide free condoms and pregnancy tests for students with this partnership.
A GIO Centre is a condom distribution scheme, run by NHS Solent Trust Sexual Health Services, which operates across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, and Southampton.
The partnership with NHS Solent Trust is part of Winston Alla’s, Union President at Solent SU, Let’s Talk About Sex campaign, which is aimed at improving sexual health and wellbeing on campus for Solent University students.
The number of new sexually transmitted infection (STIs) diagnosed in 2022 amongst young people aged 15 to 24 years increased by 26.5% compared to 2021, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). In the same report by UKHSA, both gonorrhoea and syphilis have returned to the same high levels reported in 2019.
The GIO Centre scheme will allow all Solent University students, including Warsash Maritime Cadets, to access free condoms and pregnancy tests on campus from the SU Exchange and Solent SU office, as well as free and confidential sexual health advice from trained staff.
Winston said: “A main concern for students coming to university is they don't feel supported or have enough information about safe sex, pregnancy or STI prevention, including where to get some forms of contraception.
"We are the first Students’ Union to become a GIO Centre in Hampshire, and we are really trying to bridge the gap by ensuring our students feel that they can ask for condoms or pregnancy tests in a comfortable environment.”
Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can protect against HIV and other STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis. Condoms can also be used to prevent unplanned pregnancy.
The condoms supplied are from Pasante and are available in trim, regular and king size. One type of pregnancy test is available.
Winston added: “The scheme also enables us to reach students who have not previously been well served by the traditional health service model and shows that innovative services within the community and education sector can play an important role in removing some of the barriers to proper prevention and care.
“Being a GIO Centre will massively benefit our students during these difficult financial times as contraception and pregnancy tests can be very expensive.
“I would like to thank the NHS Solent Trust Sexual Health Services for supporting my Let’s Talk About Sex campaign and the Solent University students as this huge success would not have been possible without their help.”
More information on Solent Students’ Union becoming a Get-It-On Centre, and Winston Alla’s Let’s Talk About Sex campaign can be found at www.solentsu.co.uk.