Sexual Health

Difficulty accessing services in rural areas

Sexual health services can be hard to access for younger people in rural areas (in the countryside), in towns and cities where services are overstretched, or from a community that's opposed to sex before marriage.

People we talked to from rural areas found sexual health and family planning services limited, and not very good at dealing with younger people. There were also concerned that staff at the doctor's might know them or their parents and that they couldn't be sure of confidentiality.

Being known to the receptionist, or to people in the waiting room, could make it difficult for younger teenagers to ask for emergency appointments, for example for the 'morning after pill'. They may go to a nearby town for sexual health services, but some people don't know what Family Planning Clinics are available nearby.

Services for gay people are more limited in rural areas. Some gay people may grow up without knowing any other gay people in the area, or have a poor experience of when they try to talk about their concerns with health professionals. One young man felt that his GP was letting young people down by not telling them about services in nearby towns.

Last reviewed January 2016.

Last updated August 2012.

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