If you’ve had unprotected sex (without a condom), there is a chance you could have caught an STI. Arrange to get tested if:

  • You haven’t got symptoms but are worried that you might have an STI.
  • You have symptoms (such as unusual discharge).
  • You have the feeling that something is wrong.

If you’re currently having sex with someone, either stop or make sure you use a condom until you know for sure if you have an STI. Your partner should get tested too.

You can get free, confidential advice and treatment from your GP or from specialist clinics in your area (even if you’re under 16). Most hospitals have special clinics called genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics that give tests and treatment for STIs. There are also lots of places that are set up especially for young people.

Most STIs can be treated easily, so don’t be scared of having a test and getting a positive result.

The first thing to do is find out for certain by taking a pregnancy test. The sooner you do this, the better. There are lots of places where you can have a free pregnancy test and get confidential advice, even if you’re under 16, including:

  • Your GP surgery.
  • Some pharmacies.
  • A sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
  • A community contraceptive clinic.
  • The Department of Health’s sexual health helpline (call 0800 567123).

You can also buy a pregnancy test to do yourself at home, from a pharmacy or supermarket. Find out more about doing a pregnancy test here.

If you’re pregnant and it is unplanned, you must decide whether to continue with the pregnancy or end the pregnancy by having an abortion. The sooner an abortion is done, the easier and safer it is. But you might want to take time to make your decision. This is why it’s important to know as soon as possible if you are pregnant.

No one needs to know that you’re pregnant until you’re ready to tell them. You can ask to see a female doctor if that would make you feel more comfortable. If you decide to continue with the pregnancy, start your antenatal (pregnancy) care as soon as possible. This includes health checks for you and your baby. Your GP can talk to you about this.

If you’ve had unprotected sex, there is a risk of both pregnancy and STIs. The best thing to do is to act quickly. The sooner you act the more likely it is that you can prevent pregnancy.

To avoid pregnancy, a woman can either:

  • Take the emergency contraceptive pill (sometimes called the morning-after pill) up to 72 hours (three days) or 120 hours (five days) after having unprotected sex, depending on the type of pill.
  • Have an IUD (sometimes called a coil) fitted up to five days after unprotected sex.

If your next period doesn’t arrive when you expect it to, take a pregnancy test. If you have sex without a condom, or the condom splits or comes off, you’re also at risk of getting an STI (find out how to use a condom). If this happens and you’re worried you have caught an STI, you can get confidential help and advice in your local area, with free testing for STIs, at:

  • A sexual health or genitourinary medicine clinic.
  • Some community contraceptive clinics.
  • Some GPs.

If you’re having sex, don’t rely on emergency contraception to stop you getting pregnant. There are lots of contraceptive options you can choose from.

Talk to a nurse or doctor at a clinic or GP surgery about what contraception is right for you. Condoms are the only method that can protect you from both STIs and pregnancy. Use them along with your chosen method of contraception.

If someone has forced or persuaded you into a sexual situation you are uncomfortable with, there is help available. You can call the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre free phone helpline: 0808 802 9999. Your call will be treated with sensitivity and in strict confidence.

You can also contact a sexual assault referral centre (SARC), where you can get specialist support and medical care if you have been sexually assaulted. A sexual assault can happen anywhere, including in your home, and is more likely to be done by someone you know than a stranger.

Find rape and sexual assault support services, including SARCs. You can also ask at your GP surgery, contraceptive clinic or sexual health clinic. Find out more about what to do if you have been sexually assaulted, or if it has happened to someone you know, over here.

If you take it correctly (at the right time on the right day), the contraceptive pill is 99% effective. However, certain things, such as being sick, can stop it working properly. Always read the leaflet inside the packet so that you know what might affect it. Find out more about what changes could occur with the pill when you’re sick or have diarrhoea here.

Some medicines, such as antibiotics, can prevent the Pill from working properly. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist to advise you on this if they’re giving you any medicines. If you have any doubt about whether your contraceptive pill is affected, use condoms while taking medication and for seven days afterwards.

If you’re sick (vomit) within three hours of taking the pill, it might not work properly and you’ll need to use condoms as well for seven days.

If you have diarrhoea keep taking the pill as usual. But while you’re unwell and for seven days afterwards, also use condoms.

If you’ve forgotten to take your pill, you may not be protected against pregnancy. This depends on the type you’re taking, how many doses you missed already and how many pills are left in the packet.

Keep taking the pill and see your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible for advice. Use condoms to make sure you are still fully protected.

For information about what you should do if you miss a combined-pill, click here.
For information about what you should do if you miss a progestogen-only pill, click here.

You can also go to:

  • The FPA website. FPA is a provider of information on individual methods of contraception, common sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy choices, abortion and planning a pregnancy.
  • The Ask Brook website. Brook is the young people’s sexual health charity for under-25s.

Find out more about the different contraceptive methods here.

HIV is a virus most commonly caught by having sex without a condom. It can also be passed on by sharing infected needles and other injecting equipment, and from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus attacks the immune system, and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease.

There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections. With early diagnosis and effective treatment, most people with HIV will not go on to develop AIDS.

The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test. If you think you have put yourself at risk of HIV, you should seek medical advice and have a test as soon as recommended. The earlier HIV is detected, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful.

Emergency anti-HIV medication called Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or ‘PEPs’ may stop you becoming infected, but treatment must be started within three days of coming into contact with the virus.

There are a number of places you can get an HIV test, including your GP surgery, A&E departments and sexual health clinics and clinics run by charities including the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Most HIV tests in the UK involve taking a small sample of blood and sending this to a laboratory for analysis.

Source: NHS Choices. (2012). HIV and AIDS [Online]. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/HIV/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed: 7th July 2014].

Download the most up-to-date list of sexual health clinics here.

It’s pretty simple. All you need to do is text SLOT to 07786202254 at 18:00 the evening before the day you want the check up. The check ups are on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings at Cardiff Royal Infirmary. The infirmary also do walk in appointments on Monday afternoons 1:30-4:00. For all up to date information on dates and timeslots for check ups please visit:


The information provided on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it.