Sexual health

Get sexual health advice, information on contraception, and how to access STI testing including support for chlamydia and HIV.

Sexual health clinics, advice, support and more are provided in North Yorkshire and York by YorSexualHealth. Find more information on the YorSexualHealth website.


If you just want to have a chat about contraception and get some advice, call the YorSexualHealth helpline number on 01904 721111 or visit the NHS sexual health page.

What kinds of contraception are there?

To find out more about what they are, how to use them, where to get them and find the one that suits you visit the YorSexualHealth contraception website. You can also talk through the different methods with a doctor or nurse at any of the contraception and sexual health clinics in North Yorkshire. Find a clinic using the YorSexualHealth clinics and services page.

You can also access a wide range of contraceptive methods directly from your GP Practice.

You can find a range of guidance about contraception on the NHS website.

Emergency contraception

If you have had unprotected sex, that is, sex without using contraception, or think your contraception might have failed, you can use emergency contraception. Find more information about emergency contraception on the YorSexualHealth website.

Can I get free condoms?

Condoms are available free of charge for young people through a range of outlets, including GPs and sexual health clinics. More information about free condoms is available here.

Do I have to be 16 to use contraception?

No. If you are under 16 you can get confidential advice and contraception. Health workers (nurses, doctors and pharmacists) work under very specific guidance with this age group. You must be mature enough to understand the advice and any decisions made about giving you contraception.

Will my parents or carers be told if I am given contraception?

Health workers have to keep anything you tell them private, but they will usually encourage you to talk to your parent or carer.

If a health worker thinks there is a risk to your health, safety or welfare they might need to share your information with someone else. The risk would need to be serious and the health worker would usually discuss this with you first.

Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diseases passed on from one person to another through vaginal, anal or oral sex, as well as through genital contact with an infected partner. You can find more information on STIs at YorSexualHealth.

All sexual health clinics offer a full range of sexual health and contraceptive services. We provide community outreach for the sections of the population who are most at risk, in order to provide easy access to information, support, HIV and STI testing, contraception and free condoms. This also includes a range of support for people living with HIV, and for their carers.

People can access advice and book appointments for testing by phoning 01904 721111. You can also directly contact any of the contraception and sexual health clinics in North Yorkshire.

What is HIV and how can I get tested?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease. It is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids. This most commonly happens during unprotected sexual contact, such as vaginal, oral and anal sex. Prevention of HIV is the most important way of controlling the spread of disease, so if you're having sex, use a condom with any new or existing partners.

People who inject illegal drugs and share needles are also at risk of catching HIV. The condition can also be spread from a mother to her unborn child.

Getting tested for HIV

If you're concerned about HIV you should:

Early diagnosis of HIV can make a real difference.

Post exposure treatment

If you have had a condom breakage or had unprotected sex with someone who may have HIV, free PEPSE (Post Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Exposure to HIV) treatment is available to prevent you contracting the virus. The sooner you receive the treatment, the better. Call 01904 721111 as soon as possible.

Living with HIV

HIV is now considered a long-term manageable illness, with those affected living longer, and able to continue fully with their lives. For those living with HIV there are a number of organisations who work locally within North Yorkshire and York who can support you, your family and friends.

For more information, please contact:

The following are national resources.

What is chlamydia and how can I get tested?

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK, but most people won't know they have it unless they get tested, because there are often no signs or symptoms.

Chlamydia can cause long-term damage to your health if it is untreated, such as infertility (being unable to get pregnant). It is also linked to ectopic pregnancy (a serious problem when a pregnancy develops outside of the womb), miscarriage and long-term pelvic pain in women.

More information on chlamydia can be found on the YorSexualHealth website.

Getting tested for chlamydia

Opportunistic screening remains an essential element of good quality sexual health services for young adults. The test for chlamydia is very simple and you will not need to be examined. You can either urinate in a pot or women can use a self-taken vaginal swab. All tests are free.

If you live in North Yorkshire you are eligible to receive a free postal kit to be tested via the YorSexualHealth postal testing service. Here is more information about the YorSexualHealth virtual testing.

What is Hepatitis C and how can I get tested?

Hepatitis C is a virus that can infect the liver. This can result in inflammation and sometimes significant damage to the liver.

The Hepatitis C virus is usually spread through blood to blood contact. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or limit damage to the liver. A blood test can be carried out to see if someone has the infection at a GP surgery or a sexual health clinic. Visit YorSexual Health for further information on testing and treatment in North Yorkshire.Testing is also provided within the North Yorkshire Horizons drug and alcohol service for registered clients.

The NHS Choices page on hepatitis C provides further information including symptoms, treatment and complications.

More information and links

Sexual Health Services

Sexual health services are commissioned at a local level to meet the needs of the local population, including provision of information, advice and support on a range of issues, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), contraception, relationships and unplanned pregnancy.

Our Public Health team work with York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust under a Section 75 Partnership Agreement who deliver the North Yorkshire integrated sexual health service, branded as YorSexualHealth. YorSexualHealth offers open access sexual health services (including free STI testing and treatment, notification of sexual partners of infected persons and free provision of contraception). People can access advice and book appointments by phoning 01904 721111. Full details are available on the YorSexualHealth website

Targeted sexual health services are also delivered through Primary Care in North Yorkshire (GP’s and Community Pharmacies).

General Practice provide:

  1. LARC (Long–acting reversible contraception) service to women of all ages – subdermal implant (SDI) or intra-uterine system / intrauterine device (IUS/IUD).
  2. Chlamydia screening service to under 25 year olds (as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme).
  3. Free condoms to under 25 year olds.
  4. Provision of sexual health information to service users.

Community Pharmacy provide:

  1. The provision of free emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) to service users aged 13 years to 24 years.
  2. Provision of Chlamydia screening kits to under 25 year olds (as part of the NCSP – national chlamydia screening programme).
  3. Free condoms to under 25 year olds.
  4. Provision of sexual health information to service users.