Sexual health

If you're sexually active, you're at risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection.

Anyone who has sex can catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI) no matter what their age, so it's important to find out how to avoid infection, how to get tested or treated, and how to protect your sexual health. This can prevent health complications for you and your sexual partners.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are caused by viruses and bacteria that are passed on during sexual intercourse. STIs affect one in nine people. Many are easily treated, but some (including HIV) are not.

It is not always obvious if you or your partner has an STI as many have no symptoms. The best thing to do is make sure you practice safe sex and always use a condom during sexual activity, and if you are worried that you may have come into contact with an STI, visit your family doctor or local genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic immediately.

More information

  • visit the NHS Choices website for advice on contraception, STIs, practicising safe sex, fertility and a range of other issues
  • visit your local GP for advice on contraception and other advice on sexual. Use the NHS Choices website to find a local GP if you do not have one
  • visit the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital website for information on a wide range of sexual health and HIV services for people living in the borough. They offer testing for sexually transmitted infections (including HIV tests), contraceptives, including the morning after pill (emergency contraception), condoms, pregnancy testing, Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, safer sex education and support/counselling
  • visit the Family Planning Association website for straightforward information, advice and support on all aspects of sexual health, sex and relationships
  • visit the BBC World Services Sexwise website: the on-line resource of a worldwide sex education project

Sex education for younger people