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Where to get a sexual health check in the UK

Hands, lips, mouth, vulva, penis, Adult Toys around the text sexual health still matters in a pandemic

Ever wondered how you go about getting a sexual health check in the UK? Especially during a pandemic?

This content was originally part of our Pandemic support series: to address the chaos and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support young people with navigating this difficult time.

Although many of us may feel we’re now in a post-pandemic era, this content will still be relevant to lots of people. There are still many people who rely on communicating, building relationships and accessing support online, whether they continue to shield from COVID-19, have long Covid, or have any other chronic illness that means they have to limit in-person social contact. There are still lots of reasons why we may need some extra support right now, and no one should feel excluded from society or unable to access the support they need.

Living through the pandemic so far, I think we can all recognise that looking after our health is really important – to protect ourselves and other people. And that goes for our sexual health too. Just like Covid-19, many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don’t actually get any symptoms.

Sexual health checks are a basic activity we all need to do to look after ourselves – like getting a haircut or a check up at the dentist. In many ways, getting a sexual health check should be seen as a bit of a ‘non-event’ rather than a marker of anything more elaborate or significant. I would be lying if I said I ever felt like this though. And that’s okay.

So what holds us back? 

Well, I don’t think any of us really like the idea of being prodded and swabbed in our most private area. I know I, and many of my friends, could explain feelings of shame, embarrassment and anxiety in the run up of going through this process. 

It could be the general worry of booking an appointment. Or the many questions of etiquette that run through your head as you carefully undress for an in-person check up (should I take my socks off? Did I shave my legs? Is my willy weird?). But these feelings pass very quickly as you witness the remarkable professionalism of those who are there to help you through the process. 

It’s now also really easy to find out what clinics and services are available in your area. All you have to do is pop in your postcode in online. Try this online postcode checker for services near you.

Where to get a sexual health check in the UK Lets get
Where to get a sexual health check in the UK 4
Self swab home kits

Really brilliantly, self swab home kits are now readily available. You can take a test in the comfort of your own home! This is especially important during the ongoing pandemic.

Each STI kit is different depending on where you live. Some may only provide chlamydia testing, whilst others may offer chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis tests. These swab tests can be vaginal, anal or oral. You can find out if you are eligible for a free home test kit and what tests are available here.

Ultimately, as with any health problem, getting a diagnosis early on is much better for getting treatment. Most STIs are really easy to treat with antibiotics, but left without treatment they can cause more serious side effects in the long-term.

If you want to find out anything more about sexual health services offered by the NHS, you can do this on their website.

Discover Fumble’s pandemic support series

The pandemic has had a huge impact on all of our lives, and we’ve all struggled to adapt to the changes that continue to happen all around us. 

Our pandemic support series explores young people’s experiences of COVID-19, and helps you start to make sense of the chaotic and uncertain time we’re living in. Discover the full series here. 

Other support

Read more

Last Reviewed 28 July 2022

Image Credit: Kev Costello via Unsplash

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