Overall, over two-thirds of respondents find information on sexual health and reproductive health from internet sites (68%), closely followed by their GP/ nurse (64%), or a sexual health service (57%). Almost two thirds of respondents have previously accessed contraception services (62%), and over half have previously accessed sexual health advice (54%) or testing for STIs (54%).
The most common methods of accessing various sexual health services are GP/ nurse and specialist health services, with the exception being emergency hormonal contraception, with 75% of respondents who have accessed this service stating they have/ would do so through a community pharmacy.
The majority of respondents, both male and female, would prefer to access specialist health services through face-to-face pre-booked appointments (82% of the total sample). Almost double the proportion of females compared to males would prefer to access telephone consultations (43% female compared to 22% male).
Just over a fifth of all respondents have had their access to sexual or reproductive health services affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (22%), 43% have not been impacted by the pandemic, and 35% have not accessed these services since the pandemic. Females appear more likely to have been impacted than males (29% compared to 12%), and those aged 65 and over appear least impacted (64% have not been impacted).
In terms of accessing contraception or reproductive health care support in 2022, just over a quarter of all respondents have accessed these services since 1 January 2022 (26%), with only 11% of males having accessed support compared to 36% of females. Respondents found it easiest to use a ‘pharmacy’ to access contraception or reproductive health care support (27.5% very easy, 37% quite easy).
When discussing contraception, respondents are most confident in talking to a health care provider (85.5% very or quite confident), closely followed by a sexual partner (88% very or quite confident).
Nearly half of all respondents do not use condoms (48%), with fewer males very likely to use a condom than females (49% and 68.5% respectively). In order to encourage them to use condoms, a third of respondents want access to free condoms, delivered confidentially.
Finally, over a third of respondents stated that condom use is importance in order to prevent STIs (35%), however despite this importance, a small number of respondents were persistent in stating that they would not use condoms under any circumstances across all open comments.