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Edinburgh

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United Kingdom / Scotland / Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle Rock.jpg

OVERVIEW

In Edinburgh, as the capital city of Scotland, you'll find many health care resources. If you are covered by NHS, you can also receive many free services, including free contraceptives, free gynecological examinations and free abortion services, among other options. In Scotland, you need a prescription for most birth control options, such as pills, IUDS, shots and implants. You can easily purchase condoms and no prescription is required. If you're under 16 year olds, you can also obtain birth control without parental permission. You can purchase some emergency contraception (the morning after pill) without a prescription, though some brands, like ellaOne, may require a prescription. For STI tests, you can get free testing at many sexual health clinics. There are also support and organizations for people with herpes, hepatitis, HIV and other STIs, which we list in the "Sexually Transmitted Infections" section. You can obtain PEP in Scotland, however PrEP does not yet seem to be widely available. Parental leave laws are general UK laws, which can be found in the "Pregnancy" section. Abortion is permitted for the first 24 weeks of pregnancy and, in certain cases, after 24 weeks of pregnancy (see "Abortion" section for details).

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Scotland, you need a prescription to most birth control methods. If you're under 16 years old, you can get birth control without your parents being informed as long as the health professional (doctor, nurse or pharmacist) believes that you fully understand your decisions and the information that you're being given. According to NHS Scotland, "Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with people under 16. They'll encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they won't make you. The only time that a doctor or nurse might want to tell someone else is if they believe you're at risk of harm, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.[1]

Tip for travelers: "If you tell a UK doctor you're going away for 12 months they will usually give you enough to last until you're back on British soil." - Female traveler

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Cerelle birth control from the United Kingdom
  • If you want condoms, you can easily get them in markets, pharmacies, etc.
  • If you want birth control pills, you'll first need to get a prescription. Once you have a prescription, you can get them from most GP surgeries, community contraception clinics, some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, sexual health clinics and some young people's services (call the NHS Scotland Sexual Health Line on 0800 22 44 88 for more information).
  • If you're interested in the contraceptive shot, there are three types that are available in the UK: Depo-Provera (the most popular and lasts for 12 weeks), Sayana Press (lasts for 13 weeks) and Noristerat (lasts eight weeks). You can get it from most GP surgeries, community contraception clinics, some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, sexual health clinics and some young people's services (call the NHS Scotland Sexual Health Line on 0800 22 44 88 for more information).
  • If you're interested in the contraceptive implant, according to NHS Scotland, "In the UK, Nexplanon is the main contraceptive implant currently in use. Implants inserted before October 2010 were called Implanon. Since October 2010, insertion of Implanon has decreased as stocks are used up, and Nexplanon has become the most commonly used implant." You can get it from most GP surgeries, community contraception clinics, some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, sexual health clinics and some young people's services (call the NHS Scotland Sexual Health Line on 0800 22 44 88 for more information).
  • If you're interested in getting an IUS (intrauterine system), the two brands available in the UK are Mirena and Jaydess. You can get it from most GP surgeries, community contraception clinics, some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, sexual health clinics and some young people's services (call the NHS Scotland Sexual Health Line on 0800 22 44 88 for more information).
  • If you're interested in getting an IUD (intrauterine device), you can get it from most GP surgeries, community contraception clinics, some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, sexual health clinics and some young people's services (call the NHS Scotland Sexual Health Line on 0800 22 44 88 for more information).

Costs[edit]

If you go to NHS, contraception services are free and confidential (even if you're under 16 years old).

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

You can get some emergency contraception (the morning after pill), like Levonelle, without a prescription in Scotland. However, some EC, like ellaOne or an IUD, requires a prescription or consultation with a GP.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can get dedicated emergency contraception (the morning after pill) from a General Practitioner (GP) or a health center. The brands you can expect to find are Levonelle and ellaOne. Currently, ellaOne is the most effective and long-lasting EC (it lasts for up to 120 hours after unprotected sex).
  • You can also use IUDs as emergency contraception. Consult with your GP about this.
  • If you can't access dedicated emergency contraception, you can use regular birth control pills as replacement EC. For progestin-only pills, you can take Neogest (take 40 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex). You can also take Microval or Norgeston (for these, take 50 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex). You can also take combined progestin-estrogen pills. If you do, remember that, in 28-day packs, only the first 21 pills can be used. Of these pills, you can take Eugynon 30ED, Microgynon, Microgynon 30 ED, Microgynon-30 or Ovranette (for all of these, take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later). [2]
  • For more information, visit the Princeton EC website.

Costs[edit]

You can get Levonelle or ellaOne free of charge from NHS.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Note: For information on PEP and PrEP access in Scotland, visit the "Medications & Vaccines" section.

There are no entry or residency requirements based on STI status in the United Kingdom.[3]

It is estimated that one quarter of people living with HIV in Scotland are undiagnosed.[4]

Testing Facilities[edit]

Clinics[edit]

There are many places to receive STI tests in Edinburgh. Below, we have included a list of just some of the places, however you should refer to The Sexual Health Service Finder for a full list.

  • 6VT Youth Cafe c:card point: 6 Victoria Terrace, EDINBURGH, EH1 2JL. 01312202108.
  • Through Care and After Care c:card point: 329 High Street, EDINBURGH, EH1 1PN, 01315296400.
  • Chalmers Sexual Health Centre (Family Planning): "If you need advice about a problem you can phone us on 0131 536 1070 and select 'option 2 - Medical Advice'. " 2A Chalmers Street, EDINBURGH, EH3 9ES. 01315361070.
  • Edinburgh University Holyrood c:card point: The Advice Place, Paterson's Land, 37 Holyrood Road, EDINBURGH, EH8 8AQ, 01316516060.
  • Better2Know - Edinburgh (Hawthornbank Lane): Waterside House, 19 Hawthornbank Lane, Edinburgh, EH4 3BH.
  • Edinburgh College of Art c:card point: Student's Union, SRC Office, Lauriston Place, EDINBURGH, EH3 9DF. 01312291442.
  • Better2Know - Edinburgh (Corstorphine Road): Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh,. EH12 6UD.

Tests From Home[edit]

  • BioSure HIV Self-Test: "BioSure HIV Self Test (sometimes known as an HIV home test) allows you to discreetly determine your own HIV status at a time and a place that is convenient to you. Our HIV self test is extremely easy to perform, requires only a tiny drop of blood and gives an extremely accurate, simple to read result in 15 minutes." One test kit is £29.95. Free Standard UK delivery.
  • WeComeToYou: We Come2You 0.0" We now offer a service where a personal nurse can come and visit you at your home, place of work or somewhere else suitable."

Support[edit]

  • Herpes Viruses Association: "The Herpes Viruses Association, registered charity 291657, helps to improve life for people with herpes simplex..."
  • Hepatitis Scotland: "Hepatitis Scotland is the national voluntary sector organisation funded by the Scottish Government to help improve responses to viral hepatitis prevention, treatment and support."
  • Waverley Care: "Waverley Care is Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity. We are a community of diverse and inspiring people united by the same goal – to make a positive difference in the lives of people living with or affected by HIV or Hepatitis C in Scotland."
  • Positive Help: "Positive Help is a registered Scottish charity which offers free volunteer-led practical help to those affected by HIV and Hepatitis C in Edinburgh and the Lothians."
  • HIV Scotland: "HIV Scotland exists to ensure that all HIV relevant policy and practice in Scotland is grounded in evidence and in the experience of people living with and affected by HIV."
  • Terrence Higgins Trust - Scotland: "Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland is part of the UK’s largest and leading HIV and sexual health charity. We have centres in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee and Glasgow."

Costs[edit]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can get the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) in the United Kingdom. There has been a nationwide HPV vaccination program in place since 2008, which targets vaccinating girls who are 12-13 years old.[5]
  • You can get PEP from your local GUM service, Accident and Emergency departments or at Chalmers Sexual Health Clinic
  • Regarding PrEP access in Scotland, here's the update from HIV Scotland (as of February 2017): "In order for PrEP to be made available on the NHS in Scotland it needs to be approved by the SMC, and as part of the decision-making process the SMC will consider evidence in the form of Patient Group Submissions. An application for a drug to be used as PrEP was made to the SMC in December 2016. They have subsequently invited patient groups to make Patient Group Submissions by 6 February 2017, and on 10 April 2017 will announce whether they approve of providing PrEP on the NHS in Scotland."[6]

Costs[edit]

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

In Edinburgh, you can find pads, tampons and menstrual cups. You can pads and tampons at pharmacies/chemist shops as well as many stores. If you would like to buy a menstrual cup, you can find MoonCup, which is produced in the UK, at many Boots locations, Seesaw (109 Broughton Street) and Real Foods (37 Broughton Street). If you're interested in DivaCup, there are websites that sell it to UK customers, like Feminine Wear, MoonTime, The Raw Greek and Stress No More. If you would like to buy LadyCup, Earthwise Girls is a UK seller/distributor.

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

You should refer to your GP or local health clinic for an appointment.

Costs[edit]

Gynecological exams handled by nurses at GPs through the NHS are free.

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In the United Kingdom, you're eligible for maternity leave is you're an employee, not a "worker." You must earn earn on average at least £112 a week and, until the "qualifying week," you must have worked for your employer for 26 weeks continuously. Note that the "qualifying week" means the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. You must have proof of pregnancy. You must also give your employer proper notice according to protocol.

Regarding time, statutory maternity is leave is for 52 weeks in the United Kingdom. This includes ordinary maternity leave (first 26 weeks) and additional maternity leave (last 26 weeks). According to the law, you are not required to take off 52 weeks. But you must take off at least 2 weeks after your baby is born (or four weeks, if you work in a factory). You can typically begin your maternity leave 11 weeks before your due date (at the very earliest). You must give your employer at least 8 weeks' notice if you wish to change your return date.

In terms of payment, you receive 90% of your weekly earnings (before taxes) for the first 6 weeks. For the next 33 weeks, you receive £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Check out this Maternity Pay Calculator to see what you may get.

You can still get maternity leave if your baby is born early, is stillborn (after the start of the 24th week of pregnancy) or dies after birth.

For more information, check out the UK Maternity Pay & Leave website.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Scotland, abortion is legal for up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. For an abortion to be legal, according to Sexual Health Scotland, "two doctors agree that continuing with the pregnancy would be more harmful to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family than if the pregnancy was aborted." After 24 weeks of pregnancy, abortion is only permitted if the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman, the pregnancy risks causing serious and permanent damage to the the pregnant woman's physical or mental wellbeing or if there is serious risk of fetal malformation. Scottish abortion law falls under the The Abortion Act 1967, which applies to Scotland, England and Wales.[7]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

If you want to obtain an abortion, you should contact your GP or a local sexual health service. They will refer you to a hospital or clinic to have the procedure. The hospital/clinic that you're referred to depends upon on far along you are into your pregnancy. You can call 0800 22 44 88 to find what are the closest sexual health services in your area.

Costs[edit]

If you have UK health insurance, you can get a free abortion at NHS clinics. If you go to a private clinic, or if you don't have NHS health coverage, you will probably need to pay for the abortion.

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Rape Crisis Scotland National Helpline: "Phone free any day between 6pm and midnight on 08088 01 03 02 or if you are deaf or hard of hearing on minicom number 0141 353 3091"
  • "The Scottish Women's Rights Helpline continues to offer free legal information and advice across Scotland, every Wednesday afternoon from 1.30 – 4.30pm, available on Freephone 08088 010 789."
  • LGBT Helpline Scotland: Call 0300 123 2523. Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 12-9pm.
  • Gender Dysphoria Consultation @ Sexual Health & Gender Clinic: "A programme will be specifically tailored to your needs which will include hormone implants and prescriptions – Please note hormones will not be prescribed at your first appointment." A one-hour session costs £250.

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

  • Engender: "Engender is Scotland’s feminist organisation. Engender has a vision for a Scotland in which women and men have equal opportunities in life, equal access to resources and power, and are equally safe and secure from harm."
  • The Young Women's Movement Scotland: "YWCA is a world movement of women leading change. Our vision is a world where every woman can shape her own life journey and fulfil her potential, where the voices of women are heard, respected and celebrated. We help to bring this about by creating empowering spaces for girls and young women to meet together in groups and clubs, activities and conversations."
  • Holllaback! Edinburgh: "A movement to end harassment in public spaces powered by local activists."
  • Scottish Women's Aid: "Scottish Women's Aid is the lead organisation in Scotland working towards the prevention of domestic abuse. We play a vital role campaigning and lobbying for effective responses to domestic abuse."
  • LGBT Youth Scotland: "LGBT Youth Scotland is a national youth organisation working towards the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people in the life of Scotland."
  • Scottish Transgender Alliance: "The Scottish Transgender Alliance works to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Scotland."
  • LGBT Health and Wellbeing: "LGBT Health and Wellbeing (LGBT Healthy Living Centre) was set up in 2003 to promote the health, wellbeing and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland."
  • Scottish Women's Rights Centre: "The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC) is a collaboration between Rape Crisis Scotland, Brown & Co Legal LLP at the Legal Services Agency and the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic. The project brings together the specialisms of each agency to meet the project aim. To ensure that women in Scotland who have been affected by gender based violence are able to access timely and appropriate legal advice and information.
  • Rape Crisis Scotland: "Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS) is the national office for the rape crisis movement in Scotland. We support the work of local centres and develop new centres in areas where there are no or few specialist services. We also work with other agencies such as the police, Crown Office and health services providing training and consultancy to improve the response to those who are affected by and who perpetrate sexual violence."

References[edit]

  1. Getting and Using Contraception
  2. Princeton EC Website
  3. UNITED KINGDOM AND GIBRALTAR - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  4. HIV Scotland: Testing
  5. United Kingdom: Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers, Fact Sheet 2016
  6. PrEP in Scotland
  7. Sexual Health Scotland: Abortion