There are a range of free, confidential sexual health services where you can get help and support regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin and sexual orientation. If you have a disability and have special requirements, or if English is not your first language, try to contact the service first before you visit. Find out more about service providers, who are they and what do they do.
Community pharmacies offer advice and support for your sexual health. You can get emergency contraception (morning after pills), contraceptive pills and referral for long-acting methods of contraception. Locally some pharmacies provide services for free.
If you are 19 years old and under, some community pharmacies can register you for the C-Card scheme where you can get free condoms. You can read more about pharmacies on the NHS website.
GP hubs are GP practices that provide services for the local community. You can book an appointment for a long-acting method of contraception (LARC). These are inter-uterine devices (IUD/IUS), and implants. They can also fit emergency coils (IUDs) for emergency contraception if there are appointments available within the timeframe. Read more about LARC, IUD AND IUS and implants.
Sexual health clinics
Sexual health clinics provide a broad range of services. They test for and treat sexually transmitted infections and provide a full range of contraceptive methods. In addition, they often provide more specialist services for example, services for men who have sex with men, psychosexual counselling.
If you are pregnant and for any reason feel unsure whether you want to continue the pregnancy, there are places you can seek help and advice. You can self refer to the local abortion service British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and MSI reproductive choices by contacting them directly and booking your appointment. You do not need a referral from your GP or another doctor.
There are a range of services you can access online. Using online services may mean registering your details and taking a short online assessment. STI testing kits and contraception can be sent directly to your address.
SHL.UK is a discreet sexual health service for Londoners. The STI testing service is for people who have mild or no STI symptoms and would like to get themselves checked. You can also request free regular contractive pills and emergency contraception (effective up to 5 days after unprotected sex) by completing a simple, secure online consultation.
Young people’s services
Some services provide free and confidential sexual health and wellbeing support specifically for young people. Information on confidentiality for those who are under 16 years old, can be found in the NHS guide to sexual health services.
HIV care and support services
If you have been diagnosed with HIV, there are a range of care and support services available to you. The clinic where you receive your treatment will offer support services e.g. help with taking medication, psychosocial issues. They will also be able to provide information on local community-based organisations. You can read more about HIV and AIDS.
Other settings where sexual health services are provided
Sexual assault services
A sexual assault is a crime no matter who commits it or where it takes place. It can happen to men and women, and can include any unwanted sexual activity from touching without consent to rape.
If you've been sexually assaulted it's important to remember that it was not your fault. Don't be afraid to get help. There are services that can help if you've been sexually assaulted, raped or abused.
A sexual assault referral centre (SARC) is a place you can find help and medical care, and where you will be taken seriously.
They provide free, confidential, help and medical care and you don't need a referral. Everything you talk about is confidential, and the service will not inform the police unless you tell them to.
You don't have to report the assault to the police if you don't want to. You may need time to think about what has happened to you. However, consider getting medical help as soon as possible for any injuries and because you may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
SARCs have specially trained doctors, nurses and support workers to care for you. Help is available 24 hours a day. SARCs can arrange for you to have tests for STIs, medicine to reduce your chance of getting HIV and emergency contraception if you need them. They can also sometimes take samples soon after the assault that can be stored in case you want to report it to the police.
Other types of support services
If you need treatment for drug addiction, you're entitled to NHS care in the same way as anyone else who has a health problem. With the right help and support, it's possible for you to get drug free and stay that way.
A GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment. They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drug service. If you're not comfortable talking to a GP, you can approach your local drug treatment service yourself.
To find local drug treatment services, visit the Frank website.
For additional support and information, you can call the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600.
Alcohol addiction services can help you reduce or stop your drinking if it's affecting your life or your health.
Alcohol addiction services include:
- support to help you stop drinking
- counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
- group therapy