Looking after your sexual health
Sexual health is about positive and respectful approaches to sexuality and sexual relationships.
Good sexual health is more than the absence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it’s mostly about being empowered to have safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.
YourCircle has a directory of local services which you may find useful.
Sexual health services are free and available to everyone, regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin and sexual orientation Guide to sexual health services - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Depending on where you live, services and advice may be available from:
- sexual health clinics (which can also be called family planning, genitourinary medicine (GUM), or sexual and reproductive health clinics)
- some pharmacies
- young people's services
If you are not sure which service is right for you, contact NHS 111, and they will advise you.
Not all service providers offer the full range of sexual health services, and it's always best to check what's on offer in advance.
You can look for local sexual health services or advice centres on this site.
Contraception and STI services
Hope House is the Sexual Health Service for Gloucestershire. The main clinics are based at Hope House in Gloucester and The Milsom Centre in Cheltenham. Services are free and available to anybody who needs them. Click Home New | Hope House Sexual Health Services . All the sexual health and contraception services are confidential – even for those aged under 16 years old. No-one can access patient records apart from staff working in our clinics.
Don’t walk in – phone in
This service operates a telephone triage system to help ensure everyone gets directed to the right point of care for their needs. Anyone can contact the triage line on 0300 421 6500, Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm.
A sexual health clinic should be able to give anyone advice about both sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and contraception. They are sometimes called family planning, GUM, or sexual and reproductive health clinics.
Their services are completely confidential. Anyone should be able to get:
- advice on STIs and how to protect yourself
- tested for STIs
- information on different types of contraception
- any type of contraception, including emergency contraception
For some kinds of contraception, such as an implant or intrauterine device (IUD), people may need to come back for a second appointment. Some, but not all, sexual health clinics may provide additional services, such as:
- special services for people who have been sexually assaulted
- hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccination
- cervical screening
- post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) – a short course of anti-HIV drugs for people who may have recently come into contact with HIV
- human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations for men who have sex with men (MSM), up to and including 45 years of age
Check with the clinic in advance to make sure it provides the service you need.
Some GPs and young people's services offer contraception (including emergency contraception) or tests and treatments for STIs. Advice, information and tests are free, but you may have to pay for any prescriptions.
Pregnancy Advisory Service
The Pregnancy Advisory Service offers specialist abortion care for women throughout Gloucestershire who have become pregnant and are considering ending their pregnancy.
They offer a confidential and non-judgemental service. They are here to support you and talk through your options and help you to access the care you need.