Healthy lives for young people

COVID-19: sexual health help and services

In response to COVID-19, most healthcare services are experiencing limitations and it might be harder than normal to access sexual health services.

Last reviewed: 08/04/2020

Last updated: 08/04/2020

Visiting a Brook service

Until further notice, all of our clinics are running appointment-only services, and some are only able to offer telephone consultations. There are no walk-in services available – please call the clinic or book an appointment online. If you arrive at a clinic without an appointment our staff will arrange for you to return later or the following day.

If you are unsure whether or not you need to come to a clinic, please call ahead to check.

Please do not visit a clinic if you have been diagnosed with, or are experiencing symptoms of, COVID-19.

Call instead and our staff will work out the best way for you to access the help you need.


Looking after your sexual health when services are limited

To keep yourself safe we recommend:

Practise safer sex – use a condom!

Condoms are the only method of contraception that also protects you from STIs. You can get them in pharmacies, supermarkets and online. There are often options to get condoms for free if you are under 25, but if not you can buy them for as little as 99p.

Make sure you have enough contraceptive pills.

If you use the contraceptive pill (or patch or ring) check now how many you have left and contact the place you get it from as soon as possible if you think you might run out in the next week or two. If you do run out, make sure you have another method of contraception available.

Don’t delay emergency contraception.

If you think you need emergency contraception, do not delay seeking help. If you have been instructed to self-isolate or have COVID-19 symptoms, call you nearest sexual health service for guidance on how to access emergency contraception.

Check out the Help & Advice section of our website for information and guidance on sexual health, relationships, wellbeing and loads more. There’s also lots of signposts to useful helplines and services.


Emergency contraception

If you need emergency contraception, you should not delay as it is only effective for a short period of time after unprotected sex. The method of emergency contraception you use will depend on how long ago you had unprotected sex. You can calculate your risk of falling pregnant on sxt.org.uk.

More information about the different types of emergency contraception and how they work.

Emergency contraception is available from Brook services (please call for an appointment), other sexual health services and pharmacies and is often free for under 25s.

If you are 18+ you might be able to order the emergency contraceptive pill (“morning after pill”) from Fettle or Superdrug. Please note: these are paid-for services.


STI testing

If you don’t have any symptoms but have had unprotected sex and want an STI test, you might be able to order one online and have it sent to your home to complete and return.

If you are experiencing symptoms of an STI, it is important that you see a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. This could be a Brook service (please call for an appointment), another sexual health service, or a GP.


Repeat contraception – pill, patch and ring

If you will run our of your pill, patch or ring in the next week or two, contact the place you get it from now to find out how you can get more. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Brook services (please call to discuss), GPs and other sexual health services can all prescribe the pill.

If you do run out, use an alternative method of contraception. We recommend condoms – they’re easy to get and also protect against STIs.

If you are 18+ you might be able to order contraceptive pills from Fettle (also have the patch and ring) or Superdrug. Please note: these are paid-for services.


Abortion services

In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the government has approved the use of telemedicine for abortion care. This means clients will be able to take both pills for medical abortion (up to 10 weeks) in their own homes, without attending a clinic. More information

If you are pregnant and you need to access abortion services, you can call a Brook service, other sexual health service or GP for guidance on referrals and what steps you should take at this time.

You can also contact:


HIV and COVID-19

Please see information about HIV and COVID-19 and accessing PEP from the Terrance Higgins Trust.


Mental health and emotional support

If you or someone you know needs help right now, you should, if possible, try to talk to a parent, carer or trusted adult. If that’s not possible, there are other sources of help and support:

  • Samaritans: someone to talk to about whatever you are going through. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Childline: a huge range of free support, guidance and activities for under 18s, including a free phone helpline and 1-2-1 counsellor chat.
  • YoungMinds – crisis messenger: text the YoungMinds Crisis Messenger, for free 24/7 support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis. There are also details of other sources of help and support.
  • On My Mind – urgent help: a list of organisations offering mental health help and support collated by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. On My Mind also has ideas for self-care and a directory of mental health services.
  • Child Bereavement UK: a helpline offering confidential support, information and guidance to children, young people, parents and families experiencing bereavement.

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