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Sexual and Reproductive Health

The facts

  • Sexual health is an important part of everyone’s health, regardless of whether or not they are sexually active
  • It includes reproductive health/screening, contraception, protection from STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and being able to enjoy healthy and pleasurable sexual relationships
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing in relation to sexuality – it is not just the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity
  • NHS sexual health services are free and available to everyone, regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin and sexual orientation
  • Many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) do not get symptoms. If you think you have an STI, the earlier you are tested, the sooner treatment can be given, if needed
  • If you visit a sexual health service, your personal details and any information about tests or treatment will not be shared with anyone outside the service without your permission. This includes your GP.

What does Sexual and Reproductive Health cover?

Promoting good sexual health is an important public health priority.
The aim is to support people to have:
• Positive sexual relationships,
• Relationships that are mutual and pleasurable and free from harm ,disease and unwanted pregnancy.

This requires people to be informed about aspects of
• Sex and relationships
• How to access contraception
• Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

SRH also covers all things reproductive, whether or not you are sexually active, including periods, screening, menopause/andropause, sexuality - and all of the other health and wellbeing topics that influence these, and vice versa.

We need to see sexual health & reproductive health as part of our everyday health and wellbeing.

What is a sexual health service?

A team of specialist doctors, nurses and practitioners providing free and confidential advice, support and treatment for all sexual health needs.
• For anyone aged 13 and over.
• All sexualities and genders.
• Male and female practitioners available.
• Each area will have its’ own sexual health clinic
• Free of Judgement
• Inclusive
• No postcode restrictions (unlike GP)

What do sexual health services offer?

  • Screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
    • HIV Testing
    • All forms of contraception (free)
    • Cervical Screening (smear test)
    • PrEP/ PEP
    • Vasectomies
    • C-Card (free condoms for 13-24yr olds)
    • Sex therapy

Support and advice
• Outreach / satellite clinics within the community
• Termination of pregnancy referrals
• Specialist Roles – E.g. HIV
• Training & Education
• Websites / Apps
• Free emergency contraception after unprotected sex (Free for
some ages – Check with local services)
• Free pregnancy tests and pregnancy decision making support



  • menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce
  • the menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45-55 years of age. The average age for a woman to reach the menopause in the UK is 51 years
  • it's worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you're experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age
  • your GP can offer treatments and suggest lifestyle changes if you have menopausal symptoms that interfere with your day to day life

Common menopause symptoms

  • hot flushes
  • night sweats and difficulty sleeping
  • problems with concentration – sometimes called ‘brain fog’
  • headaches and migraines
  • mood changes, low mood and anxiety
  • joint stiffness, aches and pains
  • recurrent urinary tract infections

Symptoms usually start a few months or years before periods stop, known as the perimenopause. It makes good business sense to support employees during the menopause, so that valuable knowledge, skills and experience are retained. Every woman’s experience of menopause is different and employers need to consider a range of actions to provide effective support.

Access to Support

Emergency Contraception
• Sexual Health Services
• NHS / GPs
• Pharmacies
• Walk-ins / A&E

Pregnancy Testing
• Sexual Health Services - Free
• Shops (Poundland, Home Bargains – Not free but cheap)
• Referral for terminations via SHS/GP

STI Screening
• One to One
• GP
• Online 

• Local Support Groups
• LGBTQIA+ North East Directory
(Produced & supplied via MESMAC)

Free Condoms
• C-Card (13-24)
• Sexual Health Services (all ages)

Contraception Advice & Treatment
• Sexual Health Services
• GP
• C-Card Outlets (info & condoms)
• Pharmacy

Confidential advice
• C-Card Outlets (13-24)
• Sexual Health Services / GP

Cervical Screening
• Invited via letter
• GP
• Sexual Health Services

Useful websites:

Terrence Higgins Trust 

LGBT Foundation 


Contraception Choices 

BISH - Sex, Love, You, and Your Questions Answered 

Sex & Relationships - The Mix 


Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust | Cervical Cancer Charity 

British Association for Sexual Health and HIV 

Sexwise provides free advice on issues such as contraception, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, sexual wellbeing and planning a pregnancy for information and advice, including work and pregnancy

Find sexual health information and support services near you here

PositivePause has a wealth of information on different aspects of the menopause, including how workplaces can support women

Managing the effects of the menopause: Menopause at work - Acas

Menopause factfile | Local Government Association

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