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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Being prepared with emergency contraception

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Author Topic: Being prepared with emergency contraception
echomikeromeo
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My boyfriend and I have been having sex regularly for the past few weeks - he is my first sex partner, but he's had rather more experience. Yesterday, he suggested that I get Plan B to have on hand in the event of condom breakage or some similar emergency. That obviously makes a lot of sense, but I was wondering whether the pills tend to have an expiration date or any other reason that would make it a bad idea to fill the prescription now and just have it on hand.

Also, if anyone knows anything specific about getting emergency contraception in the UK (presumably, on the NHS) that would also be helpful.

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Claire P.
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Hi Echomikeromeo,
It can be a pretty good idea to have Plan B on hand "just in case." Sometimes emergencies occur on days and/or at times when Plan B isn't readily available, so knowing you have a pack or two around (you can check the expiration date when you're buying them, I don't think it expires faster than other medication) can just help you feel safer in certain situations.

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Robin Lee
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IN addition, one of our UK volunteers did the research on getting emergency contraception in the UK. Take a look.

http://www.scarleteen.com/blog/jacob/2012/07/29/uk_hurdles_to_emergency_contraception

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Robin

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Claire P.
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And, where in the UK are you, exactly?
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Redskies
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In addition to the info that Robin linked to: under-25s can also get EC at most Brook centres, and EC is available at most GUM or Family Planning clinics (ring the specific clinic before going to check).

In Scotland, EC is available for free from pharmacies. As in the link above, it's likely to cost about £25 from a pharmacy in England and Wales, but sometimes free for younger people. The NHS websites say that EC is "free" from UK GPs and NHS clinics, but I haven't been able to establish whether that's Really free or whether there's still a prescription charge. In Scotland and Wales, prescriptions are free, so seeing a GP would get someone EC at no cost. In England, prescriptions are free if you're under 18 and in education or if you've filled in paperwork entitling you to free prescriptions because of low income or other reasons; otherwise they're £7.60 (? £7.something anyway).

So, in summary: a GP (and then probably a pharmacy to get the prescription filled), NHS walk-in centre, Brook centre, Family Planning clinic, GUM clinic, pharmacies. If you go to a pharmacy, do know that you can ask to speak to the pharmacist out of earshot of other customers.

Also, very clearly from the link above, not every pharmacist is helpful on this, but I do think it's a much more common experience in England/Scotland/Wales to have no obstruction to getting EC. It's my impression that health workers in particular are much more pro EC than they are unwanted pregnancies in young people.

PS. My complete absence of mention of Northern Ireland means I haven't a clue and would have to look it up from scratch rather than just checking the odd detail.

[ 11-18-2012, 12:21 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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Also - I wasn't going to say this because it's based on more of a hunch than solid knowledge, but maybe it's still helpful so long as I make that clear.

There's a bit of a problem in the NHS - or a perceived problem, and I'm not in a position to know which - with wasted medicine, and doctors are often reluctant to prescribe solely on the basis of "just-in-case". I think it's possible that a GP may not prescribe EC before it's needed. Please don't let that put you off asking if you feel it's the right thing for you to do, because I can't know what any given doctor will say, but I just didn't want you to be super-surprised if that happens. If that does happen, sometimes a different doctor may feel differently, or you might have more success at a Brook centre or buying from a pharmacy. Too, if you live somewhere where you can't easily get to medical facilities or a pharmacy and transport is poor, I would hope that a doctor would agree with the wisdom there of having EC already.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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echomikeromeo
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Thanks all! I'm in a large town in southwest England, over 18, and this is all very helpful. I'm not the most comfortable talking to my GP about things like this, so the family planning/GUM clinic route might be the best for me--not least because, if Redskies' hunch is accurate, they might be more likely to actually prescribe it.
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Claire P.
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Great advice, Redskies! That is really good to know- especially the thing about hesitance to prescribe EC when not in the midst of an emergency, am definitely making note of that for future reference. [Smile]
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