Sexual Health

There are increased risks for people with sickle cell during pregnancy – not only the risk that your baby will inherit sickle cell disease.  As a pregnant mother, you can have a healthy pregnancy with careful monitoring and support.  However, you have a greater risk of pre-eclampsia, premature delivery, stillbirth, or low birth weight at full term.  It is important you contact your sickle cell specialist to get information about how sickle cell disease affects pregnancy and how pregnancy affects sickle cell.  Always seek medical help.

Your sexual life will hopefully be the same as for anyone else, although there is a chance that you may be affected by pain, or negative responses from potential partners.

Men with sickle cell can suffer from priapism (prolonged erection), when sickle blood clots the veins in the penis.  This condition is very painful.  Priapism can last less than an hour, or up to 5 hours.  Over time, repeated episodes could cause permanent damage.  It is important to seek medical advice.  By time you reach 1 hour without relief, priapism should be treated as a MEDICAL EMERGENCY !!!

Specialist sexual health services offer a free, confidential service.  They are not sickle cell specialists and may not be aware of all the impact of an infection for a sickle cell sufferer.

iCaSH provide a number of clinics in Suffolk that provide information, contraception, testing and treatment free of charge (also HIV care and treatment).

All GP practices offer sexual health services, with free screening for chlamydia (a commonly sexually transmitted disease) for those aged under 25 .

Most pharmacies give free emergency contraception as well as chlamydia screening for under-25s.

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