Sexual health is an important part of physical and mental health as well as your emotional and social wellbeing. It's important to take care of your sexual health and to talk about sex and relationships with your loved ones.
Sexual health and young people
If you're thinking about having sex for the first time it's really important that you feel ready, you don't feel pressured into it by someone else and that you feel comfortable with your decision.
Even though it might seem as if everyone around you is having sex, remember the average age for first sex in the UK is still 17 and above. Most people feel both excited and worried at the thought of having sex for the first time - this is normal, the main thing is that you feel absolutely ready.
Sexual health and adults
Sex can be great but it can also carry risks, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy. STIs are diseases passed on from one person to another through unprotected sex (sex without a condom) or sometimes through genital contact.
Local information and support
Sexual health services in South Tyneside are free, confidential and available to everyone regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin and sexual orientation. We aim to make sure that people are given the information and skills they need to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
South Tyneside sexual health services provide:
- advice on sexual health, relationships and family planning
- free contraception
- free testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- free HIV testing
- free emergency hormonal contraception (the morning-after pill) for young people
Services might be delivered by nurses, specialist doctors, your local/regular doctor, pharmacists or outreach workers. Not all service providers offer the full range of sexual health services as outlined above, and it's always best to check what's on offer in advance.
It is fine to take a friend with you for support. If you need to have an examination, you should be offered a chaperone. This means that someone else can be with you when you have the examination if you want them to be.
If you visit a sexual health service for the first time, you are usually asked to fill in a form with your name and contact details. With the exception of the GP, you do not have to give your real name or tell staff who your GP is if you do not want to. You can visit any sexual health clinic, it doesn't have to be one in your local area.
As part of your consultation you may be asked some personal questions, such as your medical and sexual history, what methods of contraception you use and other questions about your sex life and sexual partners. If you need to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you may need to provide a blood or urine sample.
All information regarding your visit will be treated confidentially. This means that your personal details and any information about the tests or treatments you have received will not be shared with anyone outside the sexual health service without your permission. This includes your GP.
If you are under 16 years of age, your details will still be treated confidentially and no-one in your household will be contacted without your permission. However, staff may encourage you to talk to your parents, guardian or another trusted adult.
View more about services available in South Tyneside.
Free chlamydia test
You can request a free chlamydia test online if you are aged between 15 and 25 and live in South Tyneside by visiting South Tyneside Sexual Health Service.
There are many types of contraception available and none are perfect. The contraception choices website provides honest information to help weigh up the pros and cons.