What does a sexual health ‘MOT’ check-up involve?
Having a check-up is really easy – we encourage people to get tested every now and again – even if you have no symptoms. Lots of people come in as a ‘couple’ with their new partner (don’t worry - we don’t see you together!) to get the all clear before stopping using condoms together… Some people come in when they know they might have taken a risk… some people come in because they have symptoms… some people attend because they’re worried about a partner’s sexual health.
Testing involves having a sexual history taken (questions about your general and sexual health), samples taken- usually a ‘pee in a pot’ urine sample for men ( please do not pass urine for at least 2 hours before your appointment); a self-taken vaginal swab for women: and a blood test for HIV and other blood-borne infections.
We sometimes examine people if they have symptoms of an infection that needs treatment straight away, but we always explain all the options to you and you are given a choice about what you wish to do.
Results are usually available within 10 days and we’ll talk to you at your appointment about how you want to get your results.
Why don't you book an appointment at your local clinic now?
I need emergency contraception (‘morning after pill’)
Emergency contraception is available if you’ve had sex and not used any other form of contraception, or you’re worried your other contraception may have failed – for example if the condom broke or came off, or you’ve recently missed pills.
Emergency contraception works best the sooner it’s taken after unprotected sex- ideally within 24 hours. However, it can still be used up to 5 days later – and sometimes beyond.
If you’re worried, come to clinic, see your GP, or go to your local walk-in centre as soon as you can – you don’t need to make an appointment – just tell the receptionist its an emergency and they’ll ensure one of the nurses or doctors will see you as soon as possible. There are links on this site to find your nearest clinic.
I’m pregnant and don’t know what to do
Being pregnant when it’s not planned can sometimes be a really worrying and scary time. If you’ve missed a period and are worried about pregnancy, or you’ve done a home pregnancy test which is positive and you’re not sure what to do, come in and speak to us.
Our clinics offer impartial advice about all the options – including continuing with a pregnancy, termination / abortion, and what you need to do if you’re considering adoption.
If you wish to have a referral for a termination, we can discuss your options and arrange this for you, if this is what you decide. Please book an appointment with one of our doctors as soon as possible to discuss.
I need PEP (emergency medication if you’ve been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours)
If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, either because you know a partner is positive and you had unprotected sex; or you’ve done something risky and are now worried about the possible consequences, you need to act quickly.
Depending on the type of sex you had with the partner, you may be advised to take medication that will dramatically reduce the risk of acquiring HIV infection. Ideally it needs to be taken within 1 hour of the unprotected sex, but it can be taken up to 72 hours later (the medication becomes less effective the longer you wait). However if you’re worried, call the clinic or attend during opening times -you don’t need an appointment for this – just tell reception its an emergency and one of the nurses will come and have a quick chat to see how we can help.
If it’s the weekend or in the middle of the night, don’t delay – go straight to your local Emergency department (A&E) and they can supply the medication there. They are trained to deal with this situation, so don’t be embarrassed.
I’m worried about HIV
You can reduce your risk of HIV by using condoms with all sexual partners, until you know their status.
We encourage ALL patients to have an HIV test as part of their regular sexual health ‘MOT’ check-up because it is important to know your status – whether you are straight, gay, bi or anything inbetween! This is because HIV is a treatable infection and people with HIV can live long and healthy lives. But the sooner a person knows their status, the less likely they will experience complications.
I just want to talk to someone for advice
The staff working in our clinics are happy to talk with you about anything related to sexual health, contraception, pregnancy, fertility or HIV related issues. You do not have to have any tests done to come to our clinics– we are happy just to talk with you and give any information you may need about any of the above subjects.
You can approach the clinics initially by phone if you prefer (see the Clinics section for details of your local service) or you can attend a clinic if it’s easier to talk in person.
All of our staff are trained to provide confidential, impartial, and professional evidence-based advice. Although you may feel embarrassed, we won’t and we would be happy to help you.
If we don’t know the answer to your questions, we can usually refer you on to the right people who will be able to help with your questions.
I want to get the pill / injection / implant / free condoms
We supply all methods of contraception and all of them are free in our clinics. Come and have a chat at your local clinic with one of our friendly nurses or doctors and we’ll help you decide which method is best for you.
We also supply free condoms!
We welcome men to our Contraception clinics too. If you’re a man and you have questions about contraception, please come in! You don’t need to bring your partner to ask questions, although she would need to attend if you need contraceptive supplies such as the ‘morning after pill’ or she requires more contraceptive pills.
Someone has said I might have been in contact with an infection – what do I do now?
It’s good that you know there may be a problem – lots of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don’t have symptoms, so unless you get tested regularly, you may not be aware that you’re at risk.
If someone has contacted you to say they’ve been diagnosed with an infection, this is usually a good thing – they’ve given you the heads up that you may be at risk. Contact your local clinic and get seen as soon as you can. Tell the nurse or doctor what your concerns are, and we’ll make sure you have the appropriate tests and sometimes the treatment too, so you get sorted as soon as possible.
It’s important you don’t have sex until you’ve been tested (in case you pass an infection to someone else) and if you have a regular partner, talk to them about coming to clinic too.
I’ve been raped
Being raped or sexually assaulted can be very traumatic. It may be by someone you know, such as a friend, partner or family member; or maybe by a total stranger. You may not know what to do. However, there are lots of options and services available to help women and men through this stressful and upsetting time. This may include contacting the police, but not always.
I’m under 16 – is your service confidential?
Our service is confidential to all patients, regardless of their age, even those aged under 16.
We do not routinely share information about an individual’s visit to the clinic, unless you want us to – that includes GPs, other hospital departments, school nurses and parents / guardians.
If we had concerns about a person’s safety, we may need to share this with another professional, but we would always try and let the person know what we planned to do to about the situation and who we would share that information with, unless it’s not safe for us to do so.
If you are concerned about confidentiality, please talk to one of our clinic staff, who will be happy to discuss your worries.