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Talking about sexual health

Health & wellbeing

Talking about sexual health

Health & wellbeing

View article in BSL

Looking after your sexual health

Looking after your sexual health is just as important as looking after your general health.

  • You can talk to your normal GP (doctor) about sexual health stuff or you can visit your local sexual health clinic. They are sometimes called GUM clinics which is short for genitourinary medicine clinics.
  • Sexual health services are free and available to everyone, no matter your sex, age, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. They’re also available for under 16’s too, to get help, support and contraception advice. 
  • It can be embarrassing to talk to a doctor or nurse about sexual health. But don’t forget that they’re experts and talk about this stuff all the time!
  • They give advice, tests and treatments to people of all shapes, sizes and sexualities. No one will judge or lecture you. They’ll just think you’re smart for taking care of yourself.

Why should I go to a sexual health clinic?

Your GP or sexual health clinic is there to offer support and services to help you look after your sexual health.

  • They can give you free contraception, check-ups, tests and treatments as well as advice and info so you can make the best choices for you.
  • You can have a check – often called a sexual health screen, if you’ve had unprotected sex and are worried you might be pregnant. Or you might be worried you have an STI, or just want to make sure you don’t.
  • If it’s over five days since you had unprotected sex, you can talk to the doctor or nurse about your options.

Your GP or sexual health clinic can also support and help you if you’ve been forced or persuaded into a sexual situation you are uncomfortable with. They may refer you to a sexual assault referral centre (SARC). If you want to go directly to one of these, you can find your nearest service using the NHS website. They can also help you tell the police what happened, if you choose to.

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