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Our services offer advice and support on all aspects of sexual health, including; contraception and screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). But we also there to listen and talk through any concerns you may have about your sexual health, how you feel about the same or opposite sex and any other relationship concerns.
All sexual health services are free of charge and we offer specialist services to young people. Visit our clihnics page to find out more.
We hope that anyone of any age who uses our sexual health or contraception services, feels welcome and comfortable. If you attend our clinics you have the right:
- To a confidential service
- To privacy, no need to discuss details in open areas
- To be treated with respect
- To be listened to
- Not to be patronised
- Not to be judged
- Not to be discriminated against
- To bring a friend or partner for support (occasionally the nurse or doctor may wish to speak to you on your own for part of the consultation)
- To book and attend an appointment without a parent or carer
- To request whether you are seen by a male or female member of staff (your request will be accommodated wherever possible)
- To complain, compliment or give us feedback
Confidentiality means keeping information safe and private. Our service will keep all your health information confidential. This includes: anything you tell us, any information we write down about you and details of any treatment you have had.
If you want to talk to us about something personal, we must keep this information confidential, even if you are under 16. This may be information about, sex, relationships, pregnancy, contraception, drugs and alcohol, or if you are feeling down.
You are entitled to the same confidential health care when you are under 18 as anyone over 18. If you are under 16 and having sex, you will be encouraged to talk with your parents, carers or guardians, but this does not mean that we will tell them about your visit.
Sometimes we may have to share information about you. We do this if we think you are at risk of serious harm or you are in danger. We may have to tell another health professional about it to be able to help you. But even then, we will tell you that we are going to do this and explain who we will tell and why. This is always done because we want to take care of your best interests.
We believe that young people need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to develop sexual behaviour that is safe and enjoyable for them and their sexual partners. Part of being safe is being in supportive relationships.
When they are healthy, relationships help us to thrive. As well as helping us enjoy the good times, they see us through the bad times too, holding us like a safety net when we’re at risk of falling.
Dating and new relationships should be exciting. We offer the following tips that might help you to build on the excitement and develop a healthy relationship with your partner.
Communication – it’s pretty obvious, but communication is really important in building healthy relationships. Are you on the same page in your relationship, do you understand each other’s expectations.
Disagreements – its OK; disagreements are a natural part of any relationship, but compromising and resolving disagreements fairly so that you both feel OK about it, is all part of a healthy relationship.
Boundaries – agreeing boundaries will help you to feel freer to do things you want. This includes, seeing your friends and doing those activities you enjoy. It’s healthy to spend time apart and will benefit your relationship
Respect – is about showing your partner that you respect their feelings, emotions, desires, and wants. It’s about offering support and encouragement, rather than putting each other down.
There are times when we are in a relationship that doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves. When the person we are with is really critical, or shouts and calls us names. Sometimes this leads to making demands or threats or always making you do what they want, this is not healthy and if you find yourself in this situation, then you may need some help.
Really worrying signs are if a partner is stopping you from seeing a certain person or group of people, demanding to know passwords to email or social networking sites, and checking in with you at all hours of the day (and night).
This doesn’t happen in those first exciting weeks, but may happen over time. Take a look at your relationship from time to time to check that you are both still enjoying being together and it’s still working.
What is Sexuality?
Sexuality is about how you express yourself sexually. A part of your sexuality is your sexual orientation, which is who you are attracted to, want to have sex with and who you fall in love with. It’s not something you control or choose; it just is!
Some people feel attracted to the same gender, some the opposite, some both and for some people they don’t feel attraction toward anyone. There are loads of terms that people use to describe these differences;
- Asexual (or ace): People who don’t feel sexually attracted to anyone and feel no desire to have sex. People can still feel an emotional or romantic attraction but not sexual attraction
- Bisexual or bi: People who are bisexual are attracted to both male and female genders
- Heterosexual (straight): Women who only are attracted to men or a man who only is attracted to women
- Homosexual (gay/lesbian): People that are attracted to the same gender (men toward men and women toward women). Gay may refer to two men, but women may also refer to themselves as Gay or Lesbian
- LGB: LGB stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual
- LGBT: stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual
- Pansexual: Pansexual people are attracted to others regardless of their gender
- Queer: Was originally used as an insult, but now some people choose to call themselves queer because they don’t feel like other (non-straight) labels for sexuality, are right for them
- Transsexual: transsexual refers to a person who emotionally and psychologically feels that they belong to the opposite sex, not to the body that they have been assigned
Figuring out your own sexuality is not always simple. For some, it’s not something they need to question, but others need more time to work through their feelings and desires. Not everyone is sure about their sexuality, and feelings can change a lot as you develop.
What does the law say about sex?
In the UK, the age of consent for any form of sexual activity, male or female,
heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual; is 16.
In the UK there are laws and child protection guidelines in place to protect people under the age of 18.
Most young people under 16 are not having sex, and many people who have had sex before 16, say that they regret it. You might find it helpful to speak to us about whether you feel ready to have sex, especially if someone is pushing you towards something that you may or may not be ready for.
Having sex with someone under the age of 13 is a serious cause for concern, and is legally considered to be ‘statutory rape’. Even if the person feels they have consented to having sex, the law says you are not old enough to fully understand, so can’t consent.
The Glade Sexual Assault Referral Centre
The Glade Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is a specialist centre which provides a service of care to women and men who have been raped or sexually assaulted in Herefordshire.
Please contact the centre should you be a victim of rape or sexual assault. You can find out more by visitng their website here.
All staff have experience of working with young people and receive training before giving out condoms. Please contact the service on 0800 7720478 for more information.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in people under the age of 25. The bacteria, chlamydia trachomatis, causes this infection. Although infected people often don’t experience any symptoms, their fertility (ability to have children) can be affected if they don’t seek treatment. There is good news, though. A chlamydia infection is really easy to test for and simple to treat!
Our chlamydia test kits are discreet and easy to use. Protect yourself today by getting tested for chlamydia, even if you haven’t noticed any symptoms. This service is completely free for under 25s.
Remember: condoms are the best way to protect yourself from chlamydia infections and many other STIs. Make sure you use a condom when having any kind of sex.
Guidelines suggest that you should get tested for chlamydia once every 6 months or every time you change sexual partners.
Young Person’s Clinic
You can find details of our weekly dedicated Young Person’s clinic by clicking here.
"I like that in the relationships section (of the website) you don’t describe relationships being between two people. That's awesome and opens up your services to more people!"
"Can I just say well done to you all, you're the first sexual health site that I've seen discuss chemsex and its awesome to see you discussing it in a supportive and informative way."
“We are very excited to welcome Solutions 4 Health to Herefordshire to deliver the integrated sexual health service and look forward to building on the existing work to drive innovation and a more community led approach.”
Julia Stephens - Senior Public Health Commissioner
“We are delighted to have been awarded this contract as it provides yet another opportunity to demonstrate our successful approach to improving healthcare across the country, by delivering high quality sexual health services for the people of Herefordshire.”
David Ritchie - Head of Sexual Health Services, Solutions 4 Health
“We are pleased to be the new provider of this innovative sexual health service for Herefordshire and are keen to give residents of the county the best possible chance of access to clinical and non-clinical sexual health services.”