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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Sexual Health Care Clinics in the UK

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Author Topic: Sexual Health Care Clinics in the UK
CosimaHardy77
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I'm going to be in England for the next 6 months on educational visa starting in September, I need to find Sexual Health Care clinics. I plan on having sex with my partner while I'm there but before I have sex with him. I want to get checked out and get all the things I need. I would so much appreciate if people from the UK or central London or people who are well versed in Sexual Health care clinics could contribute!!!!!Thank you so much! [Smile] [Smile] [Smile] [Smile]

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Sex-Positive feminism embraces the entire range of human sexuality and is based on the idea that sexual freedom is essential component of a woman's freedom.
-Madison Brown

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Sam W
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Hi Cosima,

Just wanted to let you know someone saw this. We have a few UK volunteers who can chime in when they have a chance, but in the meantime, you can also try using the "help near you" link at the top of the main Scarleteen page to see if you can find anything in the area you'll be in [Smile]

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OhImpecuniousOne
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What info are you looking for, exactly? The vast majority of sexual health clinics in the UK are run by the NHS, so as far as I know you'll have free access to them. If you're in London there are tonnes to choose from - you can browse or search by postcode here. They all have their own rules, but in general you don't need to register, and you can either make an appointment online a few days before you go or you can just walk in without an appointment. Bear in mind that if you're going to walk in, it's best to do so during the day on a weekday, since there probably won't be serious queues during working days.

Your university will probably also have a student health centre, which will offer sexual health services, and might be more convenient as it will probably be on campus or near campus. They'll also offer a GP service, which you will have to register for - it's a good idea to register with a GP when you arrive, so that if you get sick you can just make an appointment, and not have to worry about finding a surgery, registering etc. when you feel crappy. (Says the huge hypocrite who has been living in two UK cities for a year and hasn't registered with a GP in either of them)

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Redskies
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Hi Cosima! This isn't something I've navigated from your position, but I do know some things about what's available to you and how you can get it.

First, has your educational institution already clarified to you whether or not you'll be entitled to free NHS care? If not, that'll be something to check with them and that their international office or representative should be able to tell you or find out for you. (Free NHS care is available to visiting students on full-time courses lasting six months or longer, or occasionally for shorter courses which meet some other more complex regulations.) Either way, you can get healthcare from the NHS, it's just that people without an entitlement to free care will have to pay for general healthcare.

Sexual and reproductive healthcare: everyone can get key parts of this for free, whether or not they're entitled to free general healthcare. That means you should be able to get contraception and STI testing for free. You can get that from specialised clinics rather than from your general doctor, and you don't need to be registered with a GP to use those clinics (although I do strongly suggest that people are registered with a GP, for all general healthcare needs!). The first people I'd suggest to you for comprehensive sexual health care are Brook: http://www.brook.org.uk/ as they're specifically for young people's sexual health. If you're in London, one or more of their centres should be accessible to you - here's the list of the centres in London: http://www.brook.org.uk/index.php/london

I'd also suggest Brook for simplicity and clarity. As OhImpecuniousOne said, there are also lots of standard NHS clinics for sexual and reproductive healthcare, but it can be confusing looking through the big list if you don't already know what you want. "Sexual health" clinics should do a range of things; "GUM" (genito-urinary medicine) clinics do STI testing; "Family planning" clinics offer contraceptive services; "CASH" (contraception and sexual health) clinics offer contraceptive and some STI testing services. Each clinic may or may not offer everything within its specialism and may or may not have appointments - you have to check with the individual clinic.

The services available at your educational institution may depend on how big it is. At the least, they're usually a source of condoms and pregnancy tests.

Also, had you considered choosing and starting contraception before you leave for the UK? Depending on the method/s that someone chooses, it can take a few weeks to get started on the method and/or for the body to adjust to it.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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CosimaHardy77
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According to my UK coordinator I'm eligible for NHS since I'll be in the UK for 6 months. I wont be at specific university but at an upper level high school. I looked on the NHS site and saw they had 4 sexual health clinics that are connected and the separate agency Brook. I'm waiting to get tested in the UK because I feel like I'll be more comfortable and safe(I'm from a very conservative state). I guess the hardest part was looking for clinics that offer things such as free condoms, safe sex advice, testing for stds and HIV, receiving contraception and the emergency pill. That offers these things for free or very low cost.

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Sex-Positive feminism embraces the entire range of human sexuality and is based on the idea that sexual freedom is essential component of a woman's freedom.
-Madison Brown

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Redskies
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It's all free [Smile]

With what you're describing, I do think that Brook is most likely to be the best-fitting service for you. They will be able to give you free condoms, free advice and information, help you choose contraception that's the best fit for you, get you that contraception for free, and do free STI testing. They can also give you free emergency contraception if you need it, and tell you where you can get free emergency contraception in your very local area so you know you can access it easily and quickly if you need to.

You can also get free condoms at any time from the range of NHS sexual health clinics: you can just go in when they're open and ask at the reception, or you can go to a walk-in clinic and see a nurse and ask. Free condoms are also available at many youth services and centres.

We can also give you some of our safer sex information, if you like?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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CosimaHardy77
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Thank you so much for responding to everybody who replied. I agree Brook will probably be the best choice for me especially since there are a lot of spread out locations. I was wondering can I hear of anybody's personal experience about going to sexual health clinics in Europe or in the UK. I would love to receive the safer sex information from Scarleteen. When I get to the UK I plan on creating a special box that has goodies like condoms, lube, latex gloves, dental dams. I was wondering what else do you think I should add? I never been to sexual health clinic before so I would love to hear experiences? Really its all free?

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Sex-Positive feminism embraces the entire range of human sexuality and is based on the idea that sexual freedom is essential component of a woman's freedom.
-Madison Brown

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Redskies
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Yep, all free. I do realise how strange that must seem to people who are used to paying for these things! (I've done the reverse, myself: I now live in a place where these things are expensive out-of-pocket, and that adjustment is not the good kind of "wow", let's put it that way!) It's one thing that I think the UK does very right.

I'd suggest just looking for UK clinic experiences, as things are very different from one European country to another. For a general picture of getting STI tests, you can have a look at Testing, Testing...

Our central article on safer sex is Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-To. You can also find a huge amount of information on our site about everything to do with sexual health just by clicking "sexual health" at the very top of the page, next to "Go to".

That goody box is a great plan!

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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CosimaHardy77
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I know its very surprising! What really surprises me is not only that its free but these are really high class clinics(Having all the right materials, staff offering a lot of opportunities.) I'm really happy that I'll be happy to afford the things I need for safe sex! If you don't mind me asking what part of Europe do you live in?(Redskies) I'm just curious to why its expensive to receive sexual or regular health care? The article Safe, Sound & Sexy: A safer sex how to, has been my guiding light! Thank you for the compliment about the goodie box! Do you think I should add anything else??

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Sex-Positive feminism embraces the entire range of human sexuality and is based on the idea that sexual freedom is essential component of a woman's freedom.
-Madison Brown

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Redskies
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I am not actually sure whether sexual health services give out lube for free - I don't recall ever coming across that. Does anyone know?

Well, in the UK, there's been a big belief overall in socialised medicine: that is, that individuals have a right to the healthcare they need regardless of income or work status, that people should have equal access to healthcare, and that the society as a whole is better off financially if people are not ill when they could be well, or really expensively ill if they could've been treated earlier more cheaply, or if people are not off work sick when they could be treated and working. Of course, in practice it's a lot more complicated than that, and there's never-ending discussion about problems with the NHS and how to improve/change it.

There's some healthcare which even short-term visitors can get for free: for example, diagnosis and treatment of some infectious diseases, like STIs. Broadly, that's because infectious diseases are considered a public health issue, and it's easier and cheaper to stop the spread of infection than it is to try to treat more ill people later on.

Brook is a charity (I think they're also NHS-funded). Like any place in the world, not everyone in the UK believes that young people should have access to comprehensive sex education and healthcare. Obviously, we do, and Brook do [Smile] I'm realising I don't know anything about Brook's history, who started it and why, so now I want to find out - thanks for that!

There's a very broad range of social and cultural traditions and attitudes across Europe, so we see a lot of variety from country to country in access to lots of things, including healthcare. I know from some of the US-based things I read that Europe sometimes gets portrayed as very progressive overall, but the reality is much more detailed. Where I am now, general healthcare is covered by insurance, but contraception is not included (I guess that sounds familiar to US folk, no?). So, people have to pay directly for their contraception (when they are already paying for healthcare through tax and insurance), and for people who don't have a lot of money, yes, that gets expensive. I couldn't offer a full description of why - I'm still learning a lot myself! - but I'd say religious influences - current and historical - are in the mix, along with a disagreement from some authorities that contraception is healthcare (disapproving face from me), and an ethos around healthcare that's very "cure/treat disease" focused and not so strong on "maintain health/preventative care".

For experiences in UK sexual health clinics, you might find some by using the search function on the boards, and of course, folk might also like to chip in and tell you some things here [Smile]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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CosimaHardy77
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I think most sexual health care clinics give out lube maybe not a bottle of it but just enough or a sample at least.

Brook is a charity that has been in service for over 50 years. Its been the leading sex-positive clinic and service that dedicates its self to provide young people all over the UK, Scotland, Wales and Ireland with comprehensive and sex-positive education and resources.

I really like them since they provide confidential services, offers basically everything that you could need,and their missions and values are on point.

General Healthcare does not support birth control so for example if your working somewhere and you have full benefits your boss can deny you birth control for either religious or personal beliefs(Its really really bad).

I'm sorry for asking where you are, you didn't have to give me specifics but just like the place's name(Ex: Paris or Turkey) and was wondering why they are like that about certain health care.

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Sex-Positive feminism embraces the entire range of human sexuality and is based on the idea that sexual freedom is essential component of a woman's freedom.
-Madison Brown

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OhImpecuniousOne
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If you find that sexual health clinics don't give out lube and you need some, you might want to try looking for a local branch of Connexions. They were originally a not-for-profit youth advice service, and one of the areas they cover is sexual health. I know they give out condoms - I don't know if they give out lube, but it couldn't hurt to ask. They also have age restrictions, so I don't think you'd be eligible if you're over 18. They're not a coherent national organisation any more so they don't have a central website, but there are still various branches operating.

Luckily, even if you can't get lube for free, it's fairly cheap - you can get a 100ml bottle for about 5 in Boots.

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