Sexual health is an important and wide ranging area of public health.
Poor sexual and reproductive health results in significant costs for health services and local authority budgets.
Prevention messages should be promoted to all sexually active men and women, highlighting that individuals can significantly reduce their risk of catching or passing on HIV or an STI or risking an unplanned pregnancy by:
Always using a condom correctly and consistently when having sex with casual or new partners, until all partners have had a sexual health screen.
Reducing their number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.
Establishing a regular, reliable method of contraception prior to engaging in relationships.
Getting screened for sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) annually and on change of sexual partner.
Referrals and pathways
Sexual Health Services
For sexually transmitted infections, contraception and psychosexual counselling.
Sexual Health Hertfordshire provides sexual health and contraceptive services across the county and includes outreach provision that is delivered in 'non-health' settings. This allows more people to get access to STI tests (including HIV), treatment and contraception.
Free home testing kits for Sexually Transmitted Infections (Syphilis, HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea) are available to Hertfordshire residents aged 16 years and above and have no symptoms.
HIV prevention and support
This includes all HIV testing programmes in sexual health and the testing programmes in non-health settings and online.
HIV testing and support can be accessed through Sexual Health Hertfordshire and through our locally commissioned HIV charity Herts Aid. Testing can be accessed from some GP practices and through the national HIV Home Sampling Service.
Sexual Health Specialist Services
This includes young people services, outreach, and services in youth settings, universities and pharmacies.
Over 100 GP practices across Hertfordshire provide long acting reversible contraception (coils and implants), chlamydia screening and treatment.
Chlamydia screening and treatment and emergency hormonal contraception (known as the 'morning after pill') is also available for people under 25 years from over 70 community pharmacies.
Youth Connexions Herts is a one-stop-shop providing guidance and emotional support to young people around sexual health and healthy relationships, plus access to free condoms (C-Card), chlamydia testing and pregnancy tests.
Free Chlamydia tests are also available to order online from C-Sure for people under 25 years.
Brook, the national young people's sexual health and wellbeing charity provides free online 'e' training resources for professionals. They cover a wide range of topics including contraception, relationships and consent.