Sexual health is just a part of your overall physical and mental health and it is important to look after in just the same way.
This means making sure that you avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy, through safe sex, and using the services which are available to help.
Free contraception and testing and treatment for STIs is available to all people in Solihull, from your family doctor or from specialist Sexual Health service clinics. All services are completely confidential.
Good sexual health
If you are worried about anything to do with sex and your sexual health, your GP is a good place to turn for advice and family doctors can provide all types of routine contraception including the pill, condoms and emergency contraception (often called the ‘morning after pill’).
Often the first step to looking after your sexual health is simply to find out more. There following links can help you find, good reliable sources of general sexual health information:
- NHS - general information and links
- Brook Health and Wellbeing - advice for young people under 25
- FPA: The Sexual Health Charity - focus on contraception issues
Solihull Sexual Health Services
Umbrella Sexual Health Services provide advice, information and help for you whatever your sexual health needs. This includes:
- all types of contraception, including long term types such as injections, coils and implants
- emergency contraception
- testing for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV
- treatment for STIs such as chlamydia, syphilis, herpes and gonorrhoea
- Chlamydia screening for young people aged 15 -25
- advice about unprotected sex
- support for people sexually exploited or abused
- pregnancy testing and referral for termination
- advice and support for LGBTQ sexual health
Visit the Umbrella website to:
- request a self sampling STI testing kit to use at home
- find out what services are available locally
- book an appointment online
You can contact the Umbrella service by calling 0121 237 5700 for details of services and to book appointments.
Other Sexual Health Services
Umbrella also provide all sexual health services in Birmingham, so you can use any of the clinics and services in Solihull or Birmingham.
Umbrella works with lots of partners including the Birmingham LGBT centre, Solihull Integrated Addiction Services (SIAS), Rape and Sexual Violence Project (RSVP)and other voluntary organisations, which provide services and support to particular groups.
In Birmingham this includes GPs and Pharmacies. Some pharmacies offer a wide range of services. In Solihull most pharmacies offer free emergency contraception. All GPs provide routine contraception and sexual health advice, some provide Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) like coils and implants too.
Umbrella run a specialist service for Young People. You can contact the service by calling 0121 237 5700.
Support, free condoms, pregnancy test and STI self test kits are also available at the You+ shop in Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre.
Contraception is free for everyone, and services are completely confidential, even for young people under 16 (but over 13).
Condoms are a barrier form of contraception and so stop infections and pregnancy, although other types of contraception are more reliable.
Other contraceptive methods do not stop infections, but are more effective in preventing unplanned pregnancy. All GPs can provide oral contraceptives and injectable contraceptives, and some can also fit coils and implant Long-acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). If you are registered with a GP practice in Solihull you can see whether they offer LARC here.. If your practice does not offer LARC you can request a referral form from them and contact Croft Medical centre in Chelmsley Wood who can help.
Alternatively contact Umbrella - Umbrella clinics can provide all kinds of contraception methods, including LARCs and condoms.
If you have sex without contraception, emergency contraception can be used up to 5 days afterwards and is available free from your GP, some Pharmacies and Umbrella clinics. Emergency contraception is more effective if used as soon as possible after having unprotected sex.
If you require access to Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC) please use this list of pharmacies who can provide you with this in Solihull.
Please check their local opening times over the bank holiday weekend and contact them to ensure they have EHC available.
Safe sex and reducing risk
STIs and unwanted pregnancy are avoidable - you can reduce your risk by having safe sex. Safe sex means you take steps before sex and while having sex, by using condoms, not having sex when affected by alcohol or drugs, and finding out how to minimise risks for different kinds of sexual activity.
Condoms are the most effective barrier method which protect against sexually transmitted infections and so should be used when having sex, especially with a new partner. Using another contraceptive as well, such as the pill will reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy too.
You can take this short safe sex test from the NHS to learn more about having a safe sex life.