Contraception refers to the methods that are used to prevent pregnancy. Some methods of contraception (condoms and internal condoms) can also be used to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Contraception is available FREE for all ages from our sexual health and contraception services.

You can also get some types of contraception from GP surgeries. Our find a service tool can help you find what's available where.

If you’re under 25, you can get free condoms at Brook services and a range of other outlets, including GPs and pharmacies, as part of the Condom Distribution Scheme.

Anyone can purchase condoms in pharmacies, supermarkets and online.

Whatever your age, gender or sexuality, we’re here to help you with your contraception needs.

What types of contraception are available?

There are many different options when it comes to contraception, and our services can offer advice to help you find and access the ones that are right for you. Our priority will always be to ensure you can access a method that suits you best. Our team will always explain everything, listen without judging and make you feel at ease.

Some methods are used on a one-off basis each time you have sex. Others are used every day, and some are more long-term, lasting months or years.

You can think about your choices before you visit us and find out more about each type below.

What if I’m under 16?

Everyone has the right to access contraception and confidential sexual health services, including people under the age of 16.

If you visit a clinic for contraception, our health professionals will work to strict guidelines and won’t tell anyone else about your visit unless they believe you’re at serious risk of immediate harm.

I just want free condoms. Where can I get them?

You can get free condoms and lube from any sexual health service in Cornwall without needing an appointment.

Cornwall also offers a Condom Distribution Scheme for under 25s. This means you can be shown how to use a condom and after that, you will be provided with a CCard which allows you to collect free condoms from a range of places across Cornwall.

How can I get the pill?

Oral contraception or 'the pill' is taken daily to prevent pregnancy. There are two types: the progestogen only pill (POP) and the combined pill (COC) - both contain hormones.

Oral contraception is free on the NHS and from any of our sexual health and contraception services.

If you are 18 or over, you may also be able to order the pill online from SH:24 and receive it directly to your home or another location of your choice. This service is free. SH:24 provide the same oral contraception as sexual health services, GPs and pharmacies and their clinicians are on hand to carryout your initial consultation.

Once an SH:24 clinician has approved your prescription, they will post your contraception out the same day (if you order before 2pm), or the next working day (if you order after 2pm). They will send it in discreet packaging by 1st class Royal Mail. You will not have to be in or sign for the package - it will fit through your letter box.

What about emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception refers to methods that may help you to prevent pregnancy if you’ve had unprotected sex within the last five days. The sooner you access emergency contraception, the more effective it will be.

There are two types of emergency contraception: the emergency contraceptive pill (the morning after pill) and the intrauterine device (IUD).

You can get both methods of emergency contraception from any Brook service. Find a service near me.

If you are over 25, you can also buy the emergency contraceptive pill online or purchase it from a pharmacy.

If you are under 25, there are a number of pharmacies where you can get the emergency contraceptive pill for free. Find a pharmacy near me.

If you have had unprotected sex, you also need to consider STIs.

What if I want to stop using a method of contraception?

If you want to stop using a method of contraception, we can provide advice and support and can remove coils or implants for you. We can give you advice if you’d like to try another method or if you are intending to get pregnant or you’d like to try another method. We can also refer you to your GP for further advice and support.

Where can I get more advice about contraception?

You can speak to someone about contraception at any of our services. Our team will help you consider the options and find what's right for you.

We've also pulled together some contraception advice, including how to talk to your partner about condoms and top tips for remembering to take your pill.

Types of contraception