For Sexual Health Week 2021 (13–19 September) we’re putting together a mini guide for you on how to access Sexual Health services in Shropshire.
What are Sexual Health services?
In the UK, you can access free and confidential sexual health services, which include getting free condoms, emergency contraception, STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) tests, pregnancy tests, abortions, and advice on pregnancy options. You can access these services without needing permission and you don’t have to pay for prescriptions for contraception.
How can I access Sexual Health services?
You’ll be pleased to know you’ve got a few options to choose from:
- Your GP surgery. Your GP (doctor’s surgery) will provide some (but maybe not all!) of these services. This can be a super convenient option if it’s near your house or on your way home from college. Remember, even if you normally go to your GP with a family member or guardian, you don’t have to take them with you. GP services must be confidential, even if you’re under 18.
- Local clinic. Or if you don’t fancy going to your GP, you can find a separate local clinic. In Shropshire, these are often run by ‘Open Clinic’ which is “a free, confidential and inclusive sexual health service in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.” You can find your nearest clinic, opening times, and a phone number here. At the time of writing this, the Roy Fletcher Centre is the nearest clinic to the SCG campuses, only a few minutes walk from the Welsh Bridge Campus! You could even pop along with your friends in your free time.
- Home testing kit/online services. If you don’t want to or don’t feel comfortable going in person to access sexual health services, you can access some online. This is most often for a ‘peace of mind’ home or self-testing kits for STIs when you have no symptoms and just want to check if you are clear of STIs. This usually means a kit will be posted to the address you provide and depending on the type of test, you give a pee sample, take swabs, or a prick of blood from your finger and send it (for free) to the lab in the post. You then wait for your results via text, phone, or email. This service can be accessed via the SH.UK website and they have some videos to show you how to take the samples yourself if you’re not sure what to do.
It’s important to get tested regularly and seek advice if you’re sexually active or have been in the past and it’s always best to be prepared with condoms and knowing how to access emergency contraception if you’re thinking about becoming sexually active at some point in the future.
Sexual Health Week is run by Brook each year and this year’s theme (as well as raising awareness of general sexual health) is ‘Consent: Do you get it?’
For more information on accessing sexual health services or general sexual health information, check out the links below!
Student Services also runs a free condom distribution scheme that all SCG students can access confidentially. Please visit Student Services or contact them via email or phone for more information.