Sexual Health Advice

For many students starting a degree at Pembroke is the first experience of independent living, managing lots of new responsibilities and options without the influence and support of close family. It can all seem exciting, daunting, or even overwhelming, especially with so much going on in the first few weeks of term. We cram in so many appointments and talks while you’re a captive audience that I’m sure a lot of it goes straight over the top of your heads, and although the Welfare Officers put on a very informative (and entertaining) talk about sexual health I am anxious that some of you may feel that the social norm is to be sexually active, and that is certainly not the case. Being sexually active is not an essential part of being a student. We are all unique and have individual ideas about how we choose to live our lives. Some of you will already have an established relationship when you arrive, many of you will meet someone you fall in love with, some of you will choose more casual relationships and some of you will choose to be celibate. Whichever choice you make is entirely personal and also entirely to be respected. So long as you are happy with your choices, based upon your own set of values and beliefs and made without pressure or coercion then you can honestly behave as an independent adult.

Which translates into making adult decisions, taking full responsibility for your sexual health, and being pro-active about safe sex, contraception and regular sexual health checks if you choose to have a sexual relationship. Reducing the anxiety and worry about preventable infections or unplanned pregnancy so that you can focus on achieving your academic potential whilst you are young, single and relatively carefree just makes sense.

The main focus in sexual health information tends to be on contraception and sexually transmitted infections, and it’s great that there are so many local services and schemes designed to ensure you have a healthy sex life if you choose to be sexually active. However the emotional side of having a sex life is rarely discussed, such as issues of trust and honesty, and the upset or heartbreak when a relationship doesn’t work out. There really are people in college who will understand and are happy to listen if you need to talk.

Sources of Confidential Support and Treatment available within Pembroke and Cambridge.

College Nurse, Jan Brighting: Drop in surgery 10.30 -12.30 Mon-Fri, email to arrange appointments outside these times  for contraceptive and STI advice and relationship support.

Chaplain, Dr Gardom: Open minded Spiritual and Pastoral discussion and advice.

Tutors: Available to give support and guidance on personal and emotional issues.

Welfare Officer: For confidential and non-judgemental listening, free condoms, pregnancy tests and C-Card Scheme.

 C-card Scheme
The C-card scheme is a new scheme in Cambridge, facilitated by CUSU, which allows students to access free condoms and sexual health advice from a variety of points around Cambridge. Registration in college as advertised weekly, staffed by Welfare Officers; top-ups during drop in surgery hours from Jan. For more detailed information see

A range of sexual health supplies at very cheap prices, free pregnancy tests, student advice service, registration for C-card scheme and excellent information at

GP Surgery
For contraception, make an appointment to see a practice nurse. There is also a useful  student website

Information, advice and Morning After Pill (this is free)

The Laurels
20 Newmarket Road: Contraception and Sexual Health testing
The Laurels is a 10 minute walk from the centre of Cambridge

Clinic 1A
Addenbrooke’s Hospital: Contraception and Sexual Health testing
Addenbrooke’s is a 10 minute bus ride (City 4) from outside the college.

Dhiverse is a local charity that supports people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Dignity at Work and Study: Policy for Junior Members of Pembroke College
A very useful document designed to foster a culture of good working relationships and protect the dignity of students in all their interactions. Available at student documents on the college website.

Useful links