This section of the website is focused on staying safe with sex and how to get help and advice if needed.
Advice and Support
Get started below.
What is Sexual Health?
Sexual health is described by the World Health Organisation as;
“…a state of physical, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence”
Put simply, sex and sexual relationships should be fun, safe, healthy, and free from violence and harm.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are passed from person to person through sexual contact. There are more than 25 STIs and they are mainly spread by sexual contact such as vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than one million people get an STI every day across the world.
Most people that contract an STI do not have any symptoms, so if you are sexually active it is important that you get a regular and routine test. You can find out where to do this by following some of the links in the ‘Advice, Guidance & Support’ section of this resource.
If left untreated, STIs can cause serious health problems, including cervical cancer, liver disease, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and pregnancy problems.
You can reduce the risk of STIs by practicing safer sex.
Practicing safer sex involves minimising the mixing of bodily fluids by using a barrier such as a condom for protection.
Some more information about safer sex can be found here:
Advice, Guidance & Support
If you have any worries or concerns about anything sex related - the websites and phone numbers below are really useful as they contain a lot of help and advice.
Brook provides free and confidential sexual health advice and guidance for Under 25’s. You can find more information at www.brook.org.uk
NHS have a section of their website dedicated to sexual health and wellbeing. You can find information about where to access local sexual health clinics (sometimes called GUM clinics) and contraception clinics, as well as a national helpline telephone number for young people 0300 123 7123. To access the website please visit - https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/where-can-i-get-sexual-health-advice-now/
The Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK’s leading sexual health and HIV charity. They support people living with HIV as well as providing services for people to achieve good sexual health. You can visit the website here - https://www.tht.org.uk/
You can get local support from the Essex Sexual Health Service too – they provide home testing, contraception and appointments. The Essex Sexual Health Service works closely with the Terrence Higgins Trust and Brook, they can also tell you where your nearest clinic and pharmacy are. For more information or to speak to someone, visit -https://www.essexsexualhealthservice.org.uk/
LET'S RECAP ON WHAT WE HAVE COVERED
TAKING CARE OF OUR SEXUAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT – Being responsible and looking after our sexual health is just as important as looking after our physical and mental health. It is also about looking after the health of our partners as well.
IF IN DOUBT SEEK ADVICE – The sexual health services in this guide can give you loads of advice and guidance about sexual health issues, it can be a good place to start if you're not sure how serious something is or don’t know what to do.
DON’T BE EMBARRASSED OR WORRIED – Sexual health services have seen it all before. Try not to be embarrassed or worried if you need to visit a service, the staff are there to help you not judge you.