Sexual Health

The Young Hackney Health & Wellbeing Team are here to give advice on any health-related issues including Sexual Health and Contraception. If you need support in other areas, such as mental health, bullying and a range of other subjects, they can put you in touch with someone who can help you. The Health & Wellbeing Team are at Forest Road on Monday evenings 5.00-7.00 and The Edge on Tuesday evenings 5.00-6.30.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in the UK. Most people with chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms, and so don’t know they have it.

If you’re under 25 and are sexually active, it’s recommended that you get tested for chlamydia every year, or when you change sexual partner.

If you’re worried you might have chlamydia or another STI – or aren’t sure – there are lots of free and confidential ways to get tested, including through a simple home testing kit via www.shl.uk. You can also visit a local pharmacy, CHYPS Plus, or your GP to get tested for chlamydia and/or other STIs.

Getting tested means you – and your sexual partners – can access treatment quickly, if you need to. The quicker you access treatment, the less severe any symptoms are likely to be.

The best way to protect against STIs is to use a condom.

STIs and condoms

We all have a responsibility for our own sexual health, and that of others. If you’re worried you might have an STI, or aren’t sure, there are lots of free and confidential ways to get tested – see above.

Getting tested means you – and any sexual partners – can access treatment quickly, if you need to. The quicker you access treatment, the less severe any symptoms are likely to be.

The best way to protect against STIs is to use a condom.

Free condoms

When used correctly and consistently, condoms are an extremely effective method of preventing STIs, such as HIV, and avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

If you’re under 25 years old and live in the City or Hackney, you can access free condoms and lubricant from a range of local venues. These are listed on this page, and include pharmacies, GP practices, youth hubs and colleges.

Contraception

A range of contraception is free and available on the NHS. There are lots of different types of contraceptives to choose from, depending on you and your lifestyle. The NHS website has information to help you choose what might be best for you.

You can access free contraception, and contraception advice, from:

To find out more about local sexual health services, please visit www.hackney.gov.uk/sexual-health 

HIV

Many people with HIV don’t know they are infected. If you think you could have HIV, you should get tested as soon as possible.

Knowing that you have HIV means you can access effective treatment quickly. And accessing effective treatment quickly means that you can live a long and healthy life. It also means that the amount of HIV virus in your body is reduced to such a low level that it is “undetectable”, so it cannot be passed to others.

If you are in a group that is at higher risk of HIV, it’s recommended you get tested for HIV regularly.

The best way to protect against HIV and other STIs is to use a condom.

To find out more about how to access tests for HIV and other STIs, please visit www.hackney.gov.uk/sexual-health

PrEP

There are many effective ways to prevent or reduce your risk of HIV infection, for example by taking PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).

If you’re HIV-negative you can take PrEP help to reduce your risk of getting the virus.

PrEP is available for people in groups that are particularly affected by HIV, including heterosexual men and women from Black communities, Trans people, and gay and bisexual men.

Speak to the local specialist sexual health service to see if you could benefit from PrEP: www.homerton.nhs.uk/sexual-health

Emergency contraception

You can access emergency contraceptive pills (Levonelle or ellaOne) free of charge from:

  • Local pharmacies
  • CHYPS Plus or Homerton Sexual Health Clinics
  • A local GP surgery
  • www.shl.uk

Levonelle should be taken within 72 hours (3 days) or having unprotected sex, but it’s most effective if taken within 12 hours.

ellaOne can be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of having unprotected sex, but it’s most effective if taken as soon as possible after having unprotected sex.

CHYPS Plus, local sexual health clinics, and some local GPs are also able to fit an IUD (intrauterine device), which is the most effective type of emergency contraception. It must be fitted within 5 days of having unprotected sex, or – if it’s possible to estimate when you ovulate – up to 5 days after you ovulate.

More information about emergency contraception can be found on the NHS website.

What if I am pregnant?

If your pregnancy test is positive, please remember you do have options which we can talk to you about. We are here to talk to you and support you in making whatever decision you decide is right for you.

You might decide to:

  • Continue with the pregnancy and have the baby
  • Continue with the pregnancy and have the baby adopted
  • Have an abortion

All of these options are available to you and no one is going to judge you for making the decision that is best for your life. Sometimes making decisions can be difficult and we can help you to think through some of the issues.

What should I do if I have decided to continue with the pregnancy?

You can come in to talk to CHYPS Plus or your GP and they can tell you what will happen and make sure you get all your checkups and answer your questions. It is a good idea to take folic acid (you can get this from the chemist or from CHYPS Plus) as soon as you are thinking about getting pregnant or as soon as you know you are pregnant. Folic acid helps the baby’s brain and spinal cord grow.

More information is available on the CHYPS Plus website.

Terminating a pregnancy (abortion)

Most abortions in England are carried out before 24 weeks of pregnancy.

There are three main ways to get an abortion on the NHS:

  • Self-refer by contacting an abortion provider directly
  • Speak to a GP and ask for a referral to an abortion service
  • Contact a sexual health clinic (such as CHYPS Plus, or Homerton Sexual Health Services) and ask for a referral to an abortion clinic.

More information is available on the CHYPS Plus website.

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