What do young people know about sexual health?

March 1, 2024

Throughout the past year, we have been engaging with young people to investigate their experiences of health and social care and ensuring that their voices are heard. We have ran a range of pop-up events at colleges and youth zones across the county, to understand what young people’s priorities are and where they need the most support and information, to inform our engagement plan.

From this, we established that young people were unsure about where to go for sexual health support, advice and information.

During January and February, we engaged with young people about access to sexual health services and feedback indicated that sexual health clinics and other sexual health support are not advertised widely, meaning young people do not know how to access such support. 

“People don’t know where to go for sexual health support in Lancashire. Young people rely on peers to know what is available and where to go.”

For the small number of young people who were aware of available sexual health support, they shared that they had such awareness because they had searched for it themselves.

“I am aware that there is a sexual health clinic in Preston, but I can’t tell you where that is. No one tells you these things you have to look them up yourselves.”

 Young people mentioned that sexual health support is available in colleges and universities, but sometimes this is not the best place to access support and they would rather see someone they don’t know.

“The college do offer support and its great but at times you want to see someone you don’t know, and it can be embarrassing going to a teacher or a tutor.”

“It is really hard to find sexual health support, we are really lucky here as we have support in college and people come in to talk about it but other than that we don’t have anything.”

A few young people commented that they wouldn’t know what was on offer at a sexual health clinic and it would be good to know what is available and how they can access the service. One student mentioned that they would go to a pharmacy for support if they felt they needed it.

“I don’t even know what is on offer at a sexual health clinic, and the name makes you not want to go in. I feel I would need to have something wrong with me to attend there.”

Overall, it appears that some colleges and universities offer sexual health support, advice and information but not all young people want to use this resource. Young people are not sure where to go and what a sexual health clinic is used for.

During engagement, we offered signposting information to local support in the area. As a result of these findings, we will also be starting a campaign to raise awareness of available sexual health services in Lancashire to help inform Lancashire residents.

Healthwatch Lancashire will share this with the Lancashire Sexual Health Service so that young people’s voices are being shared and services are aware of what young people feel around access to sexual health services in Lancashire. 

Do you have feedback to share with us? There are plenty of ways you can do this: