Sexual health and family planning

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Alert

Our sexual health and HIV services include provision of advice and services on contraception, relationships, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  

We offer free and confidential services from the following sites:

Services can be accessed on a walk- in basis. For more information about any of the services we provide or to book an appointment, visit the All East website.

A summary of services provided from each of these locations can be found below:

  • All East Sexual Health  provide free, open access, confidential sexual health clinics across East London and Waltham Forest. Services may be booked online or accessed on a walk-in basis.
  • Services provided by community clinics include:
    • Pregnancy testing
    • STI screening including HIV and Hep B testing, and Hep B Vaccination
    • treatment of complicated STIs and HIV
    • Emergency and ongoing contraception, including: pills, injections, patches, rings and long acting reversible contraception such as implants and coils.
    • Referral for complex contraception
    • Diagnosis and treatment for the following symptoms:
      • Unusual genital discharge
      • Unusual genital spotting or bleeding
      • Genital lumps, bumps itches and rashes 

Visit the All East Website for more information including details about clinic opening times and locations in Waltham Forest. Clinics across East London can be found here

  • Positive East offer FREE HIV testing and STI screening throughout Waltham Forest for adults over 18.
  • YMCA East offers sexual health screening and support and advice to young people under 25
  • Body and Soul offer support to families affected by HIV diagnosis

Download a list of GP Practices and Pharmacies that offer free contraception to young people

General Practices offer the following advice and care for their registered patients:

  • Pregnancy testing
  • STI screening
  • HIV testing
  • Hepatitis B testing and vaccination
  • Treatment and referral of STIs
  • Emergency and ongoing contraception, including: pills, injections, patches, rings and long acting reversible contraception such as implants and coils. 

Appointments are bookable, confidential and delivered by Doctors and Practice Nurses.

Community pharmacies offer

  • STI screening,
  • Emergency contraception,
  • Condom cards and condoms.  

Services from Pharmacies do not require an appointment, are quick and confidential and provided 7 days per week, in a range of young people friendly accredited locations, with skilled, trained pharmacists.

Our centre of excellence at SLG Health and Wellbeing Centre provides all Sexual Health services including treatment for Gonorrhoea, HIV and Syphilis. 

Self-screening kit Click to get info

These confidential, quick & easy services are ideal for users who require testing, who are without symptoms and have not had sexual contact with someone who has an STI.

  • Online STI screening for 15-24 year olds through www.freetestme.com (via smartphone or PC)
  • Online STI & HIV screening (Over 18s) through www.sirludwig.shl.uk  (via smartphone) or www.shl.uk
  • Screening kits are accessible via postage to home or collection from a range of local access points

Waltham Forest Sexual Health Outreach Service is unique. It’s a FREE and confidential service offering ‘pop up clinics’ in places such as colleges, adult services and youth settings as well as community events offering:

  • Priority bookings given to under 25’s
  • Contraception and Sexually Transmitted Infections advice and guidance
  • Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea screening (urine samples sent off to the lab, results via text).
  • HIV and Hepatitis C testing (20 minute on the spot results)
  • C Card registration (condom scheme allowing young people under 25’s a card to access condoms easily and discretely from a range of over 2000 outlets across London, Essex and Hertfordshire)
  • FREE Pregnancy testing
  • Fast track clinic appointments (under 25’s only)

Contact: Jacqui King Jacqui.King@walthamforest.gov.uk

  • YMCA East offers sexual health screening and support and advice to young people under 25. 
  • C card scheme offers free condoms weekly to young people under the age of 25. Twitter - ; C Card app- search CCARD on Apple or COME CORRECT on Android 
  • Freetest.me offer online STI screening for 15-24 year olds.  Kits can be sent home through first class post. Test results are available online through your chosen method.

You can access emergency contraception (morning after pill) from clinics and your GP free of charge.

Find emergency contraception services

Pharmacies
There are several pharmacies in this borough that provide the morning after pill free of charge:

Leyton E10

  • Anji's Pharmacy, 335 Lea Bridge Road London E10 7LA, 020 8539 2631
  • Meraj Pharmacy, 471 High Road Leyton E10 5EL, 020 8539 3432
  • Meraj Pharmacy, 694 High Road Leyton E10 6JP, 020 8558 5416
  • Marijak Ltd, 354 High Road London E10 6QE, 020 8539 2168
  • Marijak Ltd, 822 High Road London E10 6AE, 020 8539 4751
  • Safedale Ltd, 98 Francis Road, London E10 6PP, 020 8556 4292
  • Safedale Ltd, 144 High Road London E15 1UA, 020 8534 1386
  • The Dispensary, 700 High Road, Leyton, London, E10 6JP,  020 8539 2194

Leytonstone E11

  • Bower Chemist, 340 Grove Green Road London E11 4EA,  020 8539 1922
  • Burns Chemist, 334 High Road Leytonstone London E11 3HR, 020 8534 3179
  • Granshaw Pharmacy, 137 Cann Hall Road London E11 3NJ, 020 8519 2253
  • Woodside Pharmacy, 851 High Road London E11 1HH, 020 8556 2502
  • Woodside Pharmacy Beacontree, 633 High Road Leytonstone London E11 4RD, 020 8539 3586 

Walthamstow E17

  • Blue Dew Pharmacy, 90 Forest Road Walthamstow London E17 6JQ, 020 3689 9040
  • Britannia Pharmacy, 50 Queens road Walthamstow London, E17 8PX 0208 520 2012
  • Cavendish Pharmacy, 281-283 Forest Road London E17 6HD, 020 8527 1358
  • Forest Chemist, 615 Forest Road London E17 4PP, 020 8527 2185
  • Grove Pharmacy, 73 Grove Road London E17 9BU, 020 8521 6436
  • Lloyd Pharmacy, 196 Higham Hill Road London E17 5RQ, 020 8531 9057
  • Macgregors Chemist, 21 Priory Court London E17 5NB, 020 8527 2020
  • Medicos Pharmacy, 399 Hoe Street London E17 9AP, 020 8521 5471
  • St. James Chemist, 69 St. James Street London E17 7PN, 020 8520 1713
  • Superdrug Pharmacy, 6, Berwick Way, Selborne Walk London E17 7JR, 020 8520 5350
  • Waterman Pharmacy, 248-250 Forest Road London E17 6JG, 020 8520 0795
  • Well Pharmacy, 19 High Street Walthamstow London E17 7AD, 0208 520 4769

Chingford E4

  • Benjamin Pharmacy, 263 Chingford Mount Road London E4 8LP, 020 8529 8263
  • Hatch Pharmacy, 30 Hatch Lane London E4 6LQ, 020 8529 0696
  • Lloyds Pharmacy, 11 Walthamstow Avenue London E4 8ST, 020 8523 1366

Changes to sexual health Click to get info

There are proposed improvements to our sexual health services as part of a London wide transformation programme which aims to minimise inefficiencies and ensure these services are better able to meet people’s needs.

The council ran a consultation from the 6 September to 4 October 2016 to understand people’s views about the proposed changes. 

The results of the consultation and equality impact assessment are available below

Proposed changes and benefits

Proposed changes:

  • To merge the GUM clinic at Whipps Cross with Newham and Tower Hamlets and relocate them in larger, specialist sexual health clinics in Stratford and Whitechapel. These new clinics will be open at evenings and weekends.
  • To provide one local sexual health clinic initially and additional clinics in future, so that we have one in Chingford, Walthamstow and Leyton/Leytonstone.
  • To continue to provide sexual health services from GP practices and community pharmacies.
  • To introduce the ability to order Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) home testing kits online.

Benefits:

  • There’ll be a greater choice of services for residents. This will include online self-testing, contraception from GPs or pharmacists and testing and treatment from community clinics.
  • Specialist sexual health services will be provided from bigger sites with better transport links and longer opening hours. They’ll also be closer to the places where the need for sexual health services is highest.
  • Services will be more affordable for us and therefore more sustainable.

If you’d like more information about the changes, you can read the sexual health consultation document (pdf 123KB).

Consultation report and equality impact assessment

Sexual health Q&A Click to get info

Sex doctor Anne Edwards answers questions on emergency contraception, chlamydia and HIV.

I had unprotected sex last night. What should I do?

You can get emergency contraception (also known as the morning after pill) at pharmacies. Some pharmacies provide free emergency contraception to women of all ages, including under-16s. You can buy it from most pharmacies if you're 16 or over for around £26.

The morning after pill can prevent you getting pregnant and you can take it up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, not just the morning after. However, the sooner you take it, the more effective it is. Some pharmacies are open overnight - just go as soon as possible.

It's also available free to all women, including girls under 16, from:

  • any GP (not just your own) providing contraceptive services
  • community contraception clinics (formerly family planning clinics)
  • Brook (Brook Advisory Centres), for under-25s only
  • some hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments
  • walk-in clinics
  • some sexual health (GUM) clinics

If it's been more than 72 hours since you had sexual intercourse, an alternative is to have an emergency IUD (coil) fitted. This can be fitted up to five days from the time you had sex to stop an egg from being fertilised or implanting in your womb. Once it's been fitted, you can keep it in as a regular method of contraception.

If you have had unprotected sex, you're also at risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), so visit a GP or sexual health clinic to get tested. 

Read more about emergency contraception.

How do I know if I've got chlamydia?

Go for a sexual health check at your local NHS genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.

Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed STI in the UK, but 75% of women have no symptoms. If left untreated, it can leave you infertile. The new tests for chlamydia are very straightforward and you may not need a full examination.

You can find details of your nearest clinic:

  • using the service search
  • in the phone book under GUM or sexual health clinic  
  • by calling the sexual health information line on 0800 567 123
  • visiting the FPA website 

Read more about getting tested for chlamydia.

Can I get HIV without having sex?

The majority of HIV infection worldwide has been spread through sexual intercourse. The other main way is through needle-sharing by drug-users and, in the developing world, through childbirth or breastfeeding.

There is a very small number of cases where HIV seems to have been transmitted by oral sex.

Day-to-day living or working with someone with HIV is not a risk to anyone else because the virus is hard to catch, except by intimate contact with bodily fluids.

Read more about HIV and Aids.

You can help protect yourself against HIV and other STIs by using a condom correctly every time you have sex.

The condom needs to be put on the penis (or inside the vagina, if it's a female condom) before there is any contact between the genitals.

Article provided by NHS Choices

  • Positive East offer free HIV testing and STI screening throughout Waltham Forest for adults over 18. 
  • All East Sexual Health provide HIV and other sexual health screening including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis screening.  They also provide contraception services.
  • If you have no symptoms, you can order STI test kits to your home here and get results sent by text message or email. 
  • C card scheme offers free condoms weekly to young people under the age of 25
  • YMCA East offers sexual health screening and support and advice to young people under 25
  • GPs and Pharmacies in Waltham Forest offer STI testing. Find out more.

Visit www.alleast.nhs.uk/waltham-forest for more details on sexual health services in Waltham Forest.

There are lots of myths about male condoms. Make sure you know the facts before you use one.

MYTH: You have to be 18 to buy condoms.
TRUTH: 
Condoms are available at any age and free of charge from contraception clinics, Brook centres, sexual health (GUM) clinics, further education colleges and young people's clinics. These services also provide confidential advice.

You can also buy condoms from pharmacies and other shops whatever age you are.

MYTH: It's safer if you use two condoms.
TRUTH: Using two condoms is not better than one as they are more likely to break. It's best to only use one at a time.

MYTH: Condoms break easily.
TRUTH: No they don't. You just need to put it on carefully and make sure there's no air bubble at the end. During sex, be careful of sharp nails, jewellery or teeth.

If the condom won't roll down, it's the wrong way round. Throw it away and use a new one.

Never try to turn a condom the other way round as there could already be semen on the tip (it's sometimes released before ejaculation).

If a condom breaks and you're not using any other contraception, go to a clinic, pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible and ask about emergency contraception.

You may also need to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This applies to boys having sex with girls and boys having sex with boys.

MYTH: Condoms are the only type of contraception I need to think about.
TRUTH: No they're not. Condoms can provide protection from STIs and unplanned pregnancy. But to get the best protection, it's better if you and your partner use a condom along with another form of contraception.

There are lots of different types of contraception, including the implant, injection, coil or the pill. It's worth exploring all your options.

MYTH: You need extra lube. Vaseline is good.
TRUTH: No it's not. A bit of extra lubrication is good but don't use anything with oil in it as it can dissolve the condom. That includes baby oil, Vaseline and hand cream. Lipstick has oil in it too.

Use a water-based lubricant, such as KY jelly or Durex Play, from a pharmacy or supermarket.

MYTH: Condoms make me less sensitive.
TRUTH: Using a condom doesn't have to spoil the moment. In fact, they can make some men last longer before they come, which is good news for both partners.

There are lots of different sizes, shapes, colours, textures and flavours of condoms, so enjoy finding the one that suits you both best.

MYTH: Condoms cut off my circulation.
TRUTH: No they don't. A condom can stretch to 18 inches round. There are lots of different shapes and sizes that you can try.

MYTH: My girlfriend is on the pill, so we don't need condoms.
TRUTH: 
Yes you do. The pill doesn't protect you or your partner from STIs. Also, if your partner forgets to take a pill or has been vomiting, the effectiveness of the pill is lower and she could still get pregnant.

MYTH: If I ask to use a condom, my partner will think less of me.
TRUTH: Insisting that you use a condom suggests that you know how to take care of yourself and your partner.

MYTH: You don't need a condom if you're having oral sex.
TRUTH: Yes you do. You should use a condom for oral sex because infections such as gonorrhoeachlamydia and herpes can be passed on this way.

MYTH: I don't need a condom - I only sleep with nice people.
TRUTH: STIs don't know or care if you're nice or not. The way someone looks can't tell you whether or not they have an STI. Lots of STIs don't have any symptoms, so you could infect each other without even knowing it.

See more about sexually transmitted diseases.

MYTH: If it's a condom, it's safe.
TRUTH: Not necessarily - novelty condoms aren't always safe and nor are ones bought from online auction sites like eBay.

Always buy condoms from a reputable source. Choose ones that have the European CE or BSI kite mark. Also check that:

  • they are within their use-by date  
  • the seal isn't broken
  • they aren't damaged 

Get more condom tips.

Article provided by NHS Choices

See original on NHS Choices

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