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Looking after your sexual health

What is sexual health?

Sexual health is about positive and respectful approaches to sexuality and sexual relationships. Good sexual health is more than the absence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it’s mostly about being empowered to have pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

What can you do to look after your sexual health

There are several simple things you can do to protect yourself from poor sexual health experiences and/or unplanned pregnancy. Some examples are listed here:

  • Practising safe sex; using a condom every time you have sex
  • If you feel that you are at risk of having a sexually transmitted infection, get tested as soon as possible
  • Speak to your GP about your contraception choices
  • If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, seek help. It’s more common to have unsafe sex when using drugs or alcohol

This is not an exhaustive list, and everyone’s circumstances are different. If you would like some guidance, please try some of the links below which will direct you to some useful organisations and resources.

Information and Advice on Sexual Health and Relationships

Your Circle

The Your Circle website gives people access to information, advice and support on a number of topics including sexual health and relationships, to help them, and anyone they know or care for, stay independent, safe and well. It helps people to find out what is available in their local community and what they can do for themselves.

Hope House

The Hope House website provides information on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), contraception, emergency contraception, pregnancy advice, HIV and chlamydia screening and advice on sexual assault and rape. It tells people where they can go to access Sexual Health Clinics in Gloucestershire and explains what to expect when visiting one of these clinics.

Information and Advice on Sexual Health and Relationships for Young People

Respect Yourself

The ‘Respect Yourself’ website is designed to engage with young people, aged 13 to 25, in Gloucestershire around issues relating to relationships and sex while providing information on a range of sexual health services available throughout Gloucestershire. It is a place where young people can safely explore their emerging sexuality, without judgement and a place they can ask questions and receive open and honest answers.

Gloucestershire Youth Support Team

The Gloucestershire Youth Support Team can offer support to young people aged 10-19 (or up to 25 for young people with a special educational need or disability) around relationships and sexual health. The service provides information and advice, chlamydia screening, access to condoms though the Gloucestershire C-Card scheme, support for young parents and parents-to-be and support around Child Sexual Exploitation and domestic abuse.

HIV Testing and Support

The Eddystone Trust

The Eddystone Trust offers discreet confidential and community-based HIV testing with rapid results, and offers support to people affected by HIV. The service includes a weekly coffee drop in and monthly peer support meetings for people living with HIV, one to one emotional and practical support, housing and benefits support, HIV and STI information sessions and safe sex resources.

Sexual Abuse and Rape Support

Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (GRASAC)

GRASAC provides free and confidential support and information services to women and girls affected by any form of sexual violence. The service includes a confidential helpline, anonymous email support, one to one support sessions, advocacy, information and referrals to other agencies and support services.

Helpline: 01452 526770 (Mon & Thurs – 12.00pm-2.00pm; Tues, Weds & Fri – 6.30pm-8.30pm)

Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

The SARC provides information and support to anyone who has been the victim or sexual assault or rape. The service includes understanding and emotional support, confidential treatment and medical care, emergency contraception, information on other agencies and support services and help reporting the incident to the police (if wanted).

Telephone: 0300 421 8400 (24/7, 365 days a year)

Opening hours for police referrals: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Opening hours for self-referrals (appointment only):  Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm; Sat: 10am-4pm.

Other information

Epidemiological health needs assessment for Hepatitis B and C in Gloucestershire

This review presents the health intelligence we have about Hepatitis B and C in Gloucestershire and was compiled by the public health team in Gloucestershire County Council.

Download / read online: Epidemiological health needs assessment for Hepatitis B and C in Gloucestershire

Sexual Assault Referral Centres in the South West 2014

This document presents the findings of an evidence review and needs analysis undertaken to inform the commissioning of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) in the South West (Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon, Devon and Cornwall). It forms part of a wider project to review commissioning arrangements across the area.

Download / read online: Sexual Assault Services in the South West: Evidence Review And Needs Analysis

Sexual Health Needs Assessment for Gloucestershire

This assessment has been produced to gain an understanding of the sexual health needs of the people of Gloucestershire, and to determine where current services are meeting those needs, as well as making recommendations for future service provision.


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