Get sexual health advice, information on contraception, and how to access STI testing including support for chlamydia and HIV.
There are 15 different kinds of contraceptive available. 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 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.
You can also access a wide range of contraceptive methods directly from your GP practice.
The Family Planning Association provide a help guide to contraceptive methods, what they are, how to use them, where to get them and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. They also provide guidance about choosing contraception after you've given birth.
You can also find full information about all the different types of contraception from the NHS Choices contraception guide.
If you have had unprotected sex, that is, sex without using contraception, or think your contraception might have failed, you can use emergency contraception.
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.
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.
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.
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 contact your local sexual health clinic or GP practice as soon as possible or request a free and confidential STI postal test kit. 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.
- North Yorkshire Aids Action provides support for people in North Yorkshire who are living with or affected by HIV.
- Yorkshire MESMAC focus on HIV prevention and sexual health promotion with gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men. They also work with the wider lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
- The National Children's Bureau has a range of resources for young people who have HIV from the Children and Young People HIV Network.
The following are national resources.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK, but it can go un-noticed without testing as there are often no signs. 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 YorSexual Health website.
Getting tested for chlamydia
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 YorSexual Health virtual testing service. More information about the virtual testing service can be found here.
You can see more information from NHS Choices chlamydia page.
More information and links
In 2015 York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was awarded contracts by North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council to deliver an integrated sexual health service called "YorSexualHealth", with MESMAC, North Yorkshire Aids Action and local GPs subcontracted to deliver elements of the sexual health service.
"YorSexualHealth" is the local service delivered across York and North Yorkshire. This has replaced all the previous services commissioned by the local authorities, including the condom distribution scheme.
All sexual health clinics offer a full range of sexual health and contraceptive services. This replaces the previous 'standalone' Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) or Contraception and Sexual Health (CaSH) clinics.
- YorSexualHealth - North Yorkshire and York
- Sexwise - advice about contraception, pregnancy, STIs and sexual well-being
- Rise Above - a health and well-being website for young people, it offers advice and tips for young people making decisions around a range of topics including sex, drugs, alcohol and smoking.
- Brook - sexual health information for under 25s
- Family Planning Association
- NHS - fertility
- NHS - gay health
- NHS - good sex
- NHS - penis health
- NHS - sex and young people
- NHS - STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
- NHS - talking about sex
- NHS - transgender health
- NHS - vagina health
- NHS - your contraception guide