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Welcome To

Essex Sexual Health Service

Provide CIC is leading a collaboration of organisations to deliver a Service providing a full range of sexual health services for the people of Essex.

CLINIC CALENDAR

Our Clinic Calendar provides details of when and where our clinics are available each day of the week, You can view this online or download a copy.

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LOCATIONS & CLINIC TIMES

Use our interactive map to view our locations, find your nearest venue or to get directions. Select the red marker at the chosen location for contact details & clinic times.

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Service Information

About

Our Values

Knowledge / Dedication / Credibility / Open-mindedness / Diversity

We want to be described

Respectful / Sensitive / Adaptable / Discreet / Innovative / Positive / Informative / Motivated / Inclusive

Provide as lead provider is responsible for the delivery of the service across Essex*. Provide is working with a number of organisations with extensive experience of innovative sexual health delivery, geographical insight and specialist knowledge to ensure that all aspects of a focussed, specialist and general service delivery are available, accessible, safe, efficient and responsive.

Our ambition is to provide a high quality service across the county delivering a full range of sexual health services. The service will be characterised by:

  • Self-management
  • Friendly, warm welcome
  • Efficient processes
  • Promoting independence and positive health choices
  • Swift and responsive access
  • Choice
  • Use of technology
  • Clinical development and innovation
  • Assessment and triage

The service operates an open access policy with a number of venues available for walk-in and appointments. No referral is required.

The sexual health services in Essex are commissioned by Essex County Council.

* Details of the Sexual Health Services available in the Southend and Thurrock areas can be found by following the links below...

Click her for Southend

Click here for Thurrock

Working With Specialists

As well as providing the main adult services we are also working with a number of specialist organisations that bring their experience and expertise to our service.

The Terrence Higgins Trust

The Terrance Higgins Trust (THT) are the largest voluntary sector provider of HIV and sexual health services in the UK, running services out of local centres across Great Britain. With over thirty years of experience of working with and advocating on behalf of people with HIV THT will provide dedicated support to communities where this is a key issue.

Brook

Brook are the UK's leading provider of free and confidential sexual health services and advice specifically for young people under 25. They have over 50 years of experience working in partnership with young people and provide services for nearly 250,000 young people UK-wide, each year. Brooks website offers a wealth of information on all aspects of sexual health specifically for under 25s

SH:24

SH:24 provides our online, confidential, triage and STI testing system accessible 24 hours a day. This quick, discreet and completely confidential service makes it easier people to get tested for the four most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Pharmacies

Retail pharmacists represent a significant resource of expertise and offer local access to the service for their communities. Healthy Living Partnership will manage a group of approximately 80 retailers to provide a sexual health platform from their premises. This includes the provision of service information, Chlamydia testing & treatment, free condoms to under 25's (via C-card scheme) and emergency hormonal contraception.

What We Do

We provide a free, confidential , non-judgemental service available to the people of Essex regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin and sexual orientation.

Our expertise means everyone can expect appropriate, effective advice and care to benefit their sexual health.Our clinics are run by a team of doctors, nurses and health advisers, offering the following services...

  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI's/STD's) in-clinic and on-line
  • HIV Testing via 'Test at Home' feature (Finger prick test available at Basildon Clinic).
  • Chlamydia screening
  • Pregnancy tests
  • All forms of contraception
  • Emergency contraception/morning after pill
  • General sex advice, counselling and support

Not all services are available at every clinic so we advise that if you plan to attend a walk-in clinic please contact the service intelligence centre before your visit to confirm that the clinic provides the right type of service for you.

The Intelligence Centre

Visiting Us

The service operates an open access policy with a number of venues available for both walk-in and appointments.  Our intelligence centre acts as a single point of access for the service providing triage, appointment booking, signposting and STI results management. The centre runs Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm. 

There is no need to feel embarassed when you visit, our staff are used to testing for all kind of infections and will do their best to explain everything to you and make you feel welcome and at ease.

When you arrive at a clinic you will be asked for your name and some contact details.  You don't have to give your real name if you don't want to, but if you do it will be kept confidential.  You will then see a doctor or nurse who will explain everything to you and answere any question you have.  Many of the questions we get asked are covered in the FAQ's section.

To see what visiting a clinic might be like, check out the video clips at the top of the page.

 

 

Service FAQ's

What happens at a clinic?

When you visit the service for the first time, you will usually be asked to fill in a form with your name and some contact details. If you want to be anonymous, you can be. You do not have to give your real name, or tell staff who your GP is if you do not want to.

Sexual health services keep separate medical records and will only share information about you with your GP or other professionals if you agree to this. Even if you are under 18 they will keep your medical records confidential unless they think you are at risk of harm.

They won’t tell your parents or your GP unless you have given permission, or you are in danger and they have discussed this with you. If you prefer to see a doctor of a particular gender (e.g. female doctor), tell the receptionist when you book the appointment, or if it is a drop-in clinic tell them when when you arrive. You can also take someone with you (such as your partner or a friend) if you wish.

Check out the short video's (above) that show you what a typical appointment or walk-in visit may look like.  

How are tests taken?

If you need to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you may need to provide a urine or blood sample.

Some tests require swabs to be taken from the genitals and, depending on what type of sex you have had, your throat and rectum. This can be a little uncomfortable but the clinical staff are experts at doing these tests so you are in good hands.

Some tests may require the doctor to look at your genitals. If you’re more comfortable with a doctor of the same sex, then you can ask for this.

What happens if I get a positive result?

Firstly - remember that almost all sexual infections are now treatable so you don't need to worry.

The service wil contact you if you have a positive result, the nurse and doctor will give you advice and information on what to do nextt.  You may be offered counselling and other forms of support to help you cope with the fact that you have an STI, should you need it.

Fortunately, false-positive results are now extremely rare. Very occasionally tests can give a false-positive especially if the condition is very rare, so sometimes the clinic will ask you for a second sample to make sure the diagnosis is accurate.

What happens if I get a negative result?

Most negative results are highly accurate. However, some infections – like HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis – may take up to 3 months to show on a blood test.

An initially negative result is still good news, but you may need to come back for a second test to be sure you're clear. Discuss this with the clinic staff when your tests are taken – they will be able to tell you if any tests will need to be repeated.

In the meantime, you should continue to practise safer sex using condoms and other barriers or stick to safer sex alternatives until all of your test results are back and you are certain that you are in the clear.

Even if all of your final tests are negative it’s time to think about how you protect yourself in the future. If you had a lucky escape this time, it might not be the same the next. Unless both you and your partner have been tested, are STI free and have been practising safer sex since being tested, you are at risk of STIs. If you have sex without a condom you put yourself and your partner at risk so make sure you use a condom every time.

Does the service provide fertility checks?

Essex Sexual Health Service does not cover pre fertility treatment screening for male or females.   Chlamydia testing as a pre fertility treatment screen is also not covered. 

What is the C-Card Scheme?

The C Card scheme is a scheme that provides FREE condoms for under 25 year olds across Essex.  To register for a card see one of our assessors at a registration point, where you will be given confidential advice and support, and have the opportunity to ask any questions. 

Once you have your C-card you can visit one of our many outlets where you will be able to just show your card, and be issued with the type of condoms you have ticked as your preferred choice.  You can use your card up to six times, and after this you can go back to see an assessor where you will be issued a new card. You will not have to give the collection points any of your personal details.

If you are not sure where our outlets are just keep your eye out for our C-Card posters in local pharmacies, education, youth services and in the community.

The C-Card scheme is open to anyone under 25 living in Essex, regardless of you sexual orientation, race or religion.

What if I am under 16?

If you are under 16 you are still entitled to access confidential sexual health services.

Although the age of consent is 16, and we hope that young people do choose to wait until they are this age before becoming sexually active, we recognise that sometimes people may choose to have sex before then and it is important there are places they can go for advice and support where they will not be judged.  

Children under 13 are legally not able to consent to any sexual activity, and there are specific laws to protect young people of this age. There's a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for rape, assault by penetration and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Who is told about my visit to a clinic?

Your visit will be confidential, and what you discuss with us will not be told to anyone else.

Confidentiality may only be broken under very exceptional circumstances, for example if we believe there is a risk of abuse or harm to you or to others. If this does happen, the assessor will let you know what information you had told them that has concerned them, and who they are going to be passing the information on to.

What questions will I be asked?

You will be taken into a private room where you will have the opportunity to talk confidentially.

You do not need to give all of your personal details; however we will ask for your initials, date of birth and postcode - but nothing will be sent to your home address.  We will also ask some questions about the kind of sex that you are having – this is to ensure that you are happy and that you can be offered further support if you need it. 

Working For Us

As lead provider, Provide has a reputation for quality, innovation and has big plans for the future. Key to this is their staff so they are always looking for quality people to join the organisation.

For more information and details of current vacancies visit Provide’s working for us page by clicking below.

About

Our Values

Knowledge / Dedication / Credibility / Open-mindedness / Diversity

We want to be described

Respectful / Sensitive / Adaptable / Discreet / Innovative / Positive / Informative / Motivated / Inclusive

Provide as lead provider is responsible for the delivery of the service across Essex*. Provide is working with a number of organisations with extensive experience of innovative sexual health delivery, geographical insight and specialist knowledge to ensure that all aspects of a focussed, specialist and general service delivery are available, accessible, safe, efficient and responsive.

Our ambition is to provide a high quality service across the county delivering a full range of sexual health services. The service will be characterised by:

  • Self-management
  • Friendly, warm welcome
  • Efficient processes
  • Promoting independence and positive health choices
  • Swift and responsive access
  • Choice
  • Use of technology
  • Clinical development and innovation
  • Assessment and triage

The service operates an open access policy with a number of venues available for walk-in and appointments. No referral is required.

The sexual health services in Essex are commissioned by Essex County Council.

* Details of the Sexual Health Services available in the Southend and Thurrock areas can be found by following the links below...

Click her for Southend

Click here for Thurrock

Working With Specialists

As well as providing the main adult services we are also working with a number of specialist organisations that bring their experience and expertise to our service.

The Terrence Higgins Trust

The Terrance Higgins Trust (THT) are the largest voluntary sector provider of HIV and sexual health services in the UK, running services out of local centres across Great Britain. With over thirty years of experience of working with and advocating on behalf of people with HIV THT will provide dedicated support to communities where this is a key issue.

Brook

Brook are the UK's leading provider of free and confidential sexual health services and advice specifically for young people under 25. They have over 50 years of experience working in partnership with young people and provide services for nearly 250,000 young people UK-wide, each year. Brooks website offers a wealth of information on all aspects of sexual health specifically for under 25s

SH:24

SH:24 provides our online, confidential, triage and STI testing system accessible 24 hours a day. This quick, discreet and completely confidential service makes it easier people to get tested for the four most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Pharmacies

Retail pharmacists represent a significant resource of expertise and offer local access to the service for their communities. Healthy Living Partnership will manage a group of approximately 80 retailers to provide a sexual health platform from their premises. This includes the provision of service information, Chlamydia testing & treatment, free condoms to under 25's (via C-card scheme) and emergency hormonal contraception.

What We Do

We provide a free, confidential , non-judgemental service available to the people of Essex regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin and sexual orientation.

Our expertise means everyone can expect appropriate, effective advice and care to benefit their sexual health.Our clinics are run by a team of doctors, nurses and health advisers, offering the following services...

  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI's/STD's) in-clinic and on-line
  • HIV Testing via 'Test at Home' feature (Finger prick test available at Basildon Clinic).
  • Chlamydia screening
  • Pregnancy tests
  • All forms of contraception
  • Emergency contraception/morning after pill
  • General sex advice, counselling and support

Not all services are available at every clinic so we advise that if you plan to attend a walk-in clinic please contact the service intelligence centre before your visit to confirm that the clinic provides the right type of service for you.

The Intelligence Centre

Visiting Us

The service operates an open access policy with a number of venues available for both walk-in and appointments.  Our intelligence centre acts as a single point of access for the service providing triage, appointment booking, signposting and STI results management. The centre runs Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm. 

There is no need to feel embarassed when you visit, our staff are used to testing for all kind of infections and will do their best to explain everything to you and make you feel welcome and at ease.

When you arrive at a clinic you will be asked for your name and some contact details.  You don't have to give your real name if you don't want to, but if you do it will be kept confidential.  You will then see a doctor or nurse who will explain everything to you and answere any question you have.  Many of the questions we get asked are covered in the FAQ's section.

To see what visiting a clinic might be like, check out the video clips at the top of the page.

 

 

Service FAQ's

What happens at a clinic?

When you visit the service for the first time, you will usually be asked to fill in a form with your name and some contact details. If you want to be anonymous, you can be. You do not have to give your real name, or tell staff who your GP is if you do not want to.

Sexual health services keep separate medical records and will only share information about you with your GP or other professionals if you agree to this. Even if you are under 18 they will keep your medical records confidential unless they think you are at risk of harm.

They won’t tell your parents or your GP unless you have given permission, or you are in danger and they have discussed this with you. If you prefer to see a doctor of a particular gender (e.g. female doctor), tell the receptionist when you book the appointment, or if it is a drop-in clinic tell them when when you arrive. You can also take someone with you (such as your partner or a friend) if you wish.

Check out the short video's (above) that show you what a typical appointment or walk-in visit may look like.  

How are tests taken?

If you need to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you may need to provide a urine or blood sample.

Some tests require swabs to be taken from the genitals and, depending on what type of sex you have had, your throat and rectum. This can be a little uncomfortable but the clinical staff are experts at doing these tests so you are in good hands.

Some tests may require the doctor to look at your genitals. If you’re more comfortable with a doctor of the same sex, then you can ask for this.

What happens if I get a positive result?

Firstly - remember that almost all sexual infections are now treatable so you don't need to worry.

The service wil contact you if you have a positive result, the nurse and doctor will give you advice and information on what to do nextt.  You may be offered counselling and other forms of support to help you cope with the fact that you have an STI, should you need it.

Fortunately, false-positive results are now extremely rare. Very occasionally tests can give a false-positive especially if the condition is very rare, so sometimes the clinic will ask you for a second sample to make sure the diagnosis is accurate.

What happens if I get a negative result?

Most negative results are highly accurate. However, some infections – like HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis – may take up to 3 months to show on a blood test.

An initially negative result is still good news, but you may need to come back for a second test to be sure you're clear. Discuss this with the clinic staff when your tests are taken – they will be able to tell you if any tests will need to be repeated.

In the meantime, you should continue to practise safer sex using condoms and other barriers or stick to safer sex alternatives until all of your test results are back and you are certain that you are in the clear.

Even if all of your final tests are negative it’s time to think about how you protect yourself in the future. If you had a lucky escape this time, it might not be the same the next. Unless both you and your partner have been tested, are STI free and have been practising safer sex since being tested, you are at risk of STIs. If you have sex without a condom you put yourself and your partner at risk so make sure you use a condom every time.

Does the service provide fertility checks?

Essex Sexual Health Service does not cover pre fertility treatment screening for male or females.   Chlamydia testing as a pre fertility treatment screen is also not covered. 

What is the C-Card Scheme?

The C Card scheme is a scheme that provides FREE condoms for under 25 year olds across Essex.  To register for a card see one of our assessors at a registration point, where you will be given confidential advice and support, and have the opportunity to ask any questions. 

Once you have your C-card you can visit one of our many outlets where you will be able to just show your card, and be issued with the type of condoms you have ticked as your preferred choice.  You can use your card up to six times, and after this you can go back to see an assessor where you will be issued a new card. You will not have to give the collection points any of your personal details.

If you are not sure where our outlets are just keep your eye out for our C-Card posters in local pharmacies, education, youth services and in the community.

The C-Card scheme is open to anyone under 25 living in Essex, regardless of you sexual orientation, race or religion.

What if I am under 16?

If you are under 16 you are still entitled to access confidential sexual health services.

Although the age of consent is 16, and we hope that young people do choose to wait until they are this age before becoming sexually active, we recognise that sometimes people may choose to have sex before then and it is important there are places they can go for advice and support where they will not be judged.  

Children under 13 are legally not able to consent to any sexual activity, and there are specific laws to protect young people of this age. There's a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for rape, assault by penetration and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Who is told about my visit to a clinic?

Your visit will be confidential, and what you discuss with us will not be told to anyone else.

Confidentiality may only be broken under very exceptional circumstances, for example if we believe there is a risk of abuse or harm to you or to others. If this does happen, the assessor will let you know what information you had told them that has concerned them, and who they are going to be passing the information on to.

What questions will I be asked?

You will be taken into a private room where you will have the opportunity to talk confidentially.

You do not need to give all of your personal details; however we will ask for your initials, date of birth and postcode - but nothing will be sent to your home address.  We will also ask some questions about the kind of sex that you are having – this is to ensure that you are happy and that you can be offered further support if you need it. 

Working For Us

As lead provider, Provide has a reputation for quality, innovation and has big plans for the future. Key to this is their staff so they are always looking for quality people to join the organisation.

For more information and details of current vacancies visit Provide’s working for us page by clicking below.

HOW ARE WE DOING?

Find out how we are performing and how to get in touch if you have a complaint or compliment.

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FRIENDS & FAMILY TEST

Please share your experience of our service by completing this simple Friends & Family Test (FFT).

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GOT A QUESTION?

We are happy to help with whatever question you might have about our service, your sexual health or relationships.

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