Interview 49 - Sarah

Age at interview: 20
Brief Outline: Sarah's uses an oral contraceptive called Cilest and says that it suits her fine. She gets her contraceptive from a walk in Family Planning clinic because it is easier and quicker than having to make a GP appointment. Once she used a pharmacy for family planning and got a very well informed and sensitive service.
Background: Single; full time student at her final year at university. Ethnic background' White British.

More about me...

Sarah’s uses an oral contraceptive called Cilest and says that it suits her fine. She finds it quicker to get her contraceptives from the local Family Planning Clinic rather than her GP. Getting an appointment with her GP can take weeks whereas the Family Planning clinic is a walk-in-centre and she usually gets seen in a short period of time. Sarah describes the staff at Family Planning as friendly and efficient but feels that she wasn’t given information such as why they offered her Cilest and not another oral contraceptive or its possible side-effects. But Sarah has no concerns about her oral contraceptive mainly because she hasn’t experience any problems with it. On one occasion her GP suggested she change to an implant indicating that it is efficient and safer but Sarah doesn’t like the idea of having something under her skin that she can feel and see besides she doesn’t have problems remembering to take her contraceptive pill.

Sarah’s experience of using pharmacies for family planning or sexual health is limited. She did once when she had to take emergency contraception and thinks that the service was really good and sensitive. She received all the information and advice just like when she got it from her GP. Her main reservation to not use pharmacies has to do with financial considerations (you have to pay for it but from the GP is free) rather than quality of service.

On one occasion when she went to the Family Planning clinic for her contraceptive, they offered a Chlamydia test and she have one done. More recently, she decided to go and get tested for all sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Sarah thinks that there is a lot of information and awareness campaigns about Chlamydia but not nearly enough information about all the others STI’s. She adds that people shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about a positive diagnosis because being infected by a partner is common and not your fault. At the start of their relationship, Sarah and her boyfriend decided to test before stop using condoms. Sarah admits that it was more her idea but her boyfriend accepted.


Sarah didn’t consider the implant as a contraceptive option because she dislikes the idea of...



Last time I went to my doctors to get my next packet of my pill was in the summer holidays and I was in City so I waited for my actual doctor this time and they said, I just said, “Could I get another packet?” And then he said about getting the implant in my arm and saying how it was more efficient, safer and could have it for three years and it doesn’t mean you have to remember to take a pill every day. But I said that I wasn’t really interested.
Why not?
Just because I didn’t like the fact that it’s under your skin and you can see it and feel it and the pill, I don’t mind having to take the pill every day.
Do you have a problem remembering taking pills?
No, no, well, I’ve never had any problems so.
Okay. So the idea of having something in your arm is sort of.
Well, I know people that have got them and you can it and feel it under your arm so I was sort of like, “[eeyer] No.”
Oh you can see and feel it.
Yeah, on my friends you can see it just under their arm there.
And I think you have you have to have it in for three years, which I just prefer to stay on the pill so if, I don’t know, if I wanted to stop having, having contraception I could, whereas with the implant you have to have it in for three years. Well, that’s what I was told anyway.
That you have to have it for three years.
Can you not take it, remove it earlier if you’re.
What, oh well he didn’t say that you could so I don’t know if you can or can’t but he, my doctor didn’t say that.



Sarah decided to test for all STI’s including HIV. She recalls how the nurse explained what was...


Well, they (GUM clinic)basically had a nurse who came to get me and sat me down in a room and told me what was going to happen and said did I if I didn’t want the blood test or anything like that I didn’t have to have it. If I had a male doctor for one of mine, and they said if you really don’t want a male doctor then you don’t have to have one but I was, I was okay with that. And then also they said because sometimes they have medical students come in and they said, “Do you, would you be okay with one coming in or not?” I said, “No.”

So they were very good at asking questions making sure you were okay with the people who were in the room. And then they basically just talked me through what was going to happen and then just the whole time just making, they were very good like making sure that I was okay throughout the whole time I was there, especially after my blood test. They were like, “Do you want to sit down? Do you want a biscuit?” Because I got quite faint. And brought me milk and a biscuit, which I thought was quite, quite sweet. So yeah, I think they are very good up here.


Chlamydia is the most common STI infection among young people but Sarah thinks that more...



When I went in for the pill they asked if I wanted to do like a Chlamydia test or anything like that because I’d obviously never had one before and I think they were quite informative. But then again, I think you only hear about Chlamydia. I think there’s very little information or general information on the other STIs. So I think Chlamydia is definitely the most well known.
I think there should be more publicity about everything else.
It is known that Chlamydia is sort of the number one STI but I think they shouldn’t I think everything else should be out there as well because people because some people they have the one Chlamydia test whereas I think everyone should just do the whole, go to the, the clinic and get the whole test done because.
Carry on.
Well because I think if you just do that one Chlamydia test it’s unlikely but you never know you could you could have AIDS or syphilis or anything like that which you need a blood test for. So I just think there’s no point just doing one. I think you should do all of them but then but then I think there needs to be more information about all of them to make more people go because otherwise people they don’t go for anything else.
Do you have any ideas how they should they could reach young people and give this information?
I suppose leaflets then. I suppose at the university it’s quite good because you do a lot of there’s a lot of leaflets handing out. In the university they’re quite good at information but then again I think schools should have more on it as well.
So would you say that perhaps testing, having regular tests is, is a good idea?
Yeah, definitely. I think once you’ve been. I think your first time is very scary and you don’t really know what’s going to happen but after your first time I mean I don’t think you should have any problems with going again. I certainly wouldn’t now. I definitely think it’s a good idea. Even if there is no particular reason why you’re going it’s a just a good idea just to go just to have peace of mind and just to be careful.



Sarah decided to go and be tested for STIs in general not just Chlamydia. She was also reassured...



Okay, well when I went for the Chlamydia test I was told to, I think it was a on a stick, and they just told me to go to the toilet and basically, use it as if I was using a tampon and then I think that was about it and then take it out and then I had to put it in a plastic folder and then bring it back.
It was a swab.
Yeah, a swab.
It was very easy and that was all I had to do for that one.
And for the other two tests, for the other ones.
The other one I had someone else doing it so I had to get changed and lie on like lie on one of those beds and have my feet in the air.
For another swab.
That’s all they need.
Which they did. Yep, but they did everything. 
Okay. That’s also for a Chlamydia test.
Yeah, that was all for the Chlamydia and everything, that was for everything.
That was when I went and had everything checked out so it was Chlamydia and everything else and then that’s, I also had my blood tested as well.
When you say everything, what do you what do you mean by everything? I mean you had chlamydia, gonorrhoea, AIDS, all of those things.
Syphilis, yeah.
Syphilis. Okay.
And then also when you have someone else have someone else doing it, I also think they sort of check down there and they have a feel to make sure everything feels okay as well, which I, I think is probably quite a good idea probably better than you doing it yourself because they have an idea of what they’re looking for and what they’re feeling for.


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