Resources if you are worried about your sexual health or HIV status.
Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. Online sexual health services
- 2. Check-ups and contraception
- 3. Emergency contraception
- 4. Abortion
- 5. Young people and sex
- 6. Sexual health promotion, HIV prevention and support
1. Online sexual health services
SH:24 is a new online sexual health service that allows Lambeth and Southwark residents to test themselves for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in the privacy of their own home and get results by text message within 7 days.. Testing for the four most common STIs – is provided free of charge:
The service is very discreet and completely confidential - with no need for a name or any personal details to be attached to any samples that are returned in the freepost envelope.
Your test kit will arrive in a plain envelope. It will contain everything you need to provide them with samples that they will test in their lab. If you have an infection, SH:24 will advise you to visit a local clinic for treatment. In some cases, an NHS clinician may call you to offer additional advice.
2. Check-ups and contraception
Your GP surgery may offer sexual health check ups and contraception. This can include long acting reversible contraceptives such as the implant, IUS and IUD (coil). The service is free and confidential; contact your practice to see what they offer.
Sexual health clinics
If you have no symptoms and just want a check-up, try the online service which may be more convenient.
3. Emergency contraception
Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex or when the usual method of contraception is believed to have failed (a split condom, missed pill and so on). Emergency contraception can be in the form of a pill or an intra-uterine device (IUD or the coil) and can be used within 3 to 5 days of unprotected sex. The morning after or emergency pill (also known as Levonelle) should be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of having unprotected sex. However it is more effective the earlier you take it. The IUD can be fitted within 5 days of unprotected sex..
It should not be seen as a regular method of contraception - it is much better to use a reliable method every time you have sex and to be aware of the other risks carried by unprotected sex, like an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Go to the NHS Choices website to find a list of pharmacies in Lambeth and Southwark that provide emergency contraception
If you are thinking of having an abortion, call the central booking service as soon as possible after missing your period and getting a positive pregnancy test result. An abortion can be carried out up to the 24th week of pregnancy; the type of abortion you get depends on how early or advanced your pregnancy is. It is best to have an abortion before 10 weeks of pregnancy (a pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period). The service will provide a full choice of contraceptive methods after the procedure.
A wide choice of locations and times are available to suit via the booking service. Calls are answered from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. You will have the option of leaving a message with your contact number and someone will call you back quickly.
Central Booking Service, call: 0845 345 9911.
For more information, go to the NHS website.
5. Young people and sex
Not all young people are having sex, most wait to have sex for the first time until they're 16 or older. Talk to your parents, or an adult you can trust, before you start having sex so you understand the risks and how to take care of yourself. If you prefer, you can talk things through with a health professional at any walk-in sexual health service, even if you are aged under 16. Services are confidential but they have to protect you, and others, from harm. This means they may have to share information in exceptional circumstances, although they will seek your consent to do this.
More information on the NHS site
Free condoms for young people (25 and under)
Condoms provide the best protection against sexual infections if they are used consistently and correctly. The Come Correct (c-card) scheme provides access to free condoms in a variety of locations/outlets across London. Once registered you can collect condoms or get advice from any Outlet displaying the Come Correct logo. You will be issued with your own c-card or you can download the c-card app (apple or android) by following the link below.
To find your nearest registration or access point, go to: Come Correct.
Chlamydia screening for young people
Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the UK, affecting both men and women. Most people who have it will have no symptoms. Without a test you will probably not know anything is wrong. If you or your sexual partner are left untreated it can cause infertility (not being able to have children) and long term pelvic pain. If you are sexually active and under 25 we recommend you test for chlamydia every year or when you change sexual partner.
You can get tested at your GP, a sexual health clinic or using a postal testing service if you are aged over 16. Go to checkurself to order your test kit online
A new postal service for everyone aged over 16, living in Lambeth and Southwark, tests for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV. To order your test kit online go to SH:24.
6. Sexual health promotion, HIV prevention and support
The organisations listed on this page specialise in sexual health and HIV and are run by people from local communities, and use volunteers to support their work. All the services listed are free to access and provide confidential services.
The Rise Partnership
NAZ, Race Equality Foundation, GMFA and London Friend Antidote comprise The Rise Partnership and provide sexual health promotion to Black African & Caribbean communities and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM).
Services available include:
- Community based outreach – resources & condom distribution, signposting & referral
- Rapid HIV Testing in the community
- Mentoring service for Black African and Caribbean under 30s and BAME MSM
- Testing Faith (Training programme for faith leaders)
- Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC) parenting courses
- Community champions peer education project
- Peer support groups for BAME MSM
- Personal development training for MSM
- Chem sex harm reduction (1-2-1 & group work)
- On line information and signposting
- Training and consultancy for service providers
For more information about the full complement of Rise services please visit the partner’s websites:
- Naz (lead agency) / 0208 834 0260
- Race Equality Foundation: Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities / 0207 428 1885
- GMFA / 020 3463 2480
- Antidote @ London Friend / 0207 833 1674
London HIV Prevention Programme
The London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) is a London-wide sexual health promotion initiative aimed at increasing HIV testing and promoting safer sex to all residents in the capital. This service operates in over 80 London gay clubs, bars and other venues providing free condoms and lube, as well as face-to-face sexual health promotion advice and information. For more information about the London HIV Prevention Programme, please visit Do It London.
HIV Care and Support
A wide range of services are available for people living with HIV, their partners and their families. They include peer support, advice & advocacy, counselling, family support and community nursing. First Point, call: 020 7160 0949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.