NORTH-East sexual health services are campaigning for residents to get tested for National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Day, following the festive period.

STI Day falls two weeks after Christmas and New Year party season, with health professionals encouraging anyone who had unprotected sex during that period to get checked.

Teesside Sexual Health Service, provided by Virgin Care, gives treatment and advice on sexual health issues, emergency contraception.

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Free condoms are also available to 13 to 24-year-old’s through the pharmacy C-Card scheme.

Service centres currently operate across Teesside in Redcar, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Hartlepool.

Lauri Mclaughlin, service manager at Virgin Care’s Teesside Sexual Health Service, said: “It is so important to get tested after the Christmas period when a lot of people have had unplanned or unsafe sex, this makes it even more important to be tested.

“Party season can lead to unprotected sex which increases the risk of catching sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea and chlamydia, leading to possible complications in later life, like infertility.

“Common STIs like chlamydia can take two weeks to be detected, so the middle of January is the perfect time to be tested.

“It is also a month before Valentine’s Day and the ideal time to celebrate, knowing you are infection free.”

Virgin Care’s online Sexual Health Hub, which is a portal of information and advice, is also available for people to find their nearest clinic.

From the website, users can request free testing kits to use at home and book appointments for convenient times at the four service centres.

For more information, visit thesexualhealthhub.co.uk