Essex Sexual Health Service
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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.

How Can We Help?

TEST AT HOME

Test yourself at home using our free STI testing kit. Order online and get your results by text.

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CONTRACEPTION

Find out more about the types of contraception we offer including the
eC-Card.

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APPOINTMENTS

Book, cancel or reschedule an appointment at our clinics.

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Our Locations

Working closely with Terrance Higgins Trust, Brook and Healthy Living Partnership we offer a range of sexual health services at our clinics and a number of retail pharmacies across Essex. Find details of our clinics and pharmacy venues below. If you don’t know the name of you can search for those that are near you.

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Service Information

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 (STIs/STDs) in-clinic and online.
  • 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 sexual health advice, counselling and support.

The intelligence centre opening times:

  • Monday to Friday - 9 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday - 9 am to 2 pm

Call the Intelligence Centre today on: 0300 003 1212

We do reserve the right to change the services available and clinic times/days without notice.

Free sexual health and HIV training is available from The Terrence Higgins Trust, book here.

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 Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is 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 30 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 is 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. Brook's 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 for people to get tested for the four most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Healthy Living Partnership (Retail Pharmacy)

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 and treatment, free condoms to under 25s (via the eC-card scheme) and emergency hormonal contraception which is offered FREE for people up to 19 years old.

Visiting Us

The service primarily operates an appointment only system. Our Intelligence Centre acts as a single point of access to the service, providing triage, appointment booking, signposting and STI results management. 

The Intelligence Centre is open:

  • Monday to Friday - 9 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday - 9 am to 2 pm

There is no need to feel embarrassed when you visit.Our staff are used to testing for all kinds 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 answer any question you have. Many of the questions we get asked are covered in the FAQs section.

To see what visiting a clinic might be like or how to use the Test at Home service, check out the video clips below.

Service FAQs

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/nurse of a particular gender (e.g. female doctor), tell the receptionist when you book the appointment. You can also take someone with you (such as your partner or a friend) if you wish.

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 will contact you if you have a positive result. The nurse and doctor will give you advice and information on what to do next.  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 three 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 in the future.

Does the service provide fertility checks?

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

What is the eC-Card Scheme?

The eC-Card scheme is a scheme that provides FREE condoms for young people over16ys and under 25yrs who are residents of Essex*.

To register for the scheme download the app from Google Play or the Apple App store or see one of our assessors at a registration point. Once accepted to the scheme you can visit one of our many outlets where you will be able to collect your condoms, registration lasts twelve months.  A full list of venues is included in the app or available from a registration point.

You will not have to give the collection points any of your personal details.

PLEASE NOTE: The eC-Card scheme will launch in the Summer of 2018.

 

* Excludes Southend.

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. 

About

Our values

Knowledge / Dedication / Credibility / Open-mindedness / Diversity

We want to be described as

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

 Provide, as the 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:

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.

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 (STIs/STDs) in-clinic and online.
  • 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 sexual health advice, counselling and support.

The intelligence centre opening times:

  • Monday to Friday - 9 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday - 9 am to 2 pm

Call the Intelligence Centre today on: 0300 003 1212

We do reserve the right to change the services available and clinic times/days without notice.

Free sexual health and HIV training is available from The Terrence Higgins Trust, book here.

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 Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is 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 30 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 is 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. Brook's 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 for people to get tested for the four most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Healthy Living Partnership (Retail Pharmacy)

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 and treatment, free condoms to under 25s (via the eC-card scheme) and emergency hormonal contraception which is offered FREE for people up to 19 years old.

Visiting Us

The service primarily operates an appointment only system. Our Intelligence Centre acts as a single point of access to the service, providing triage, appointment booking, signposting and STI results management. 

The Intelligence Centre is open:

  • Monday to Friday - 9 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday - 9 am to 2 pm

There is no need to feel embarrassed when you visit.Our staff are used to testing for all kinds 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 answer any question you have. Many of the questions we get asked are covered in the FAQs section.

To see what visiting a clinic might be like or how to use the Test at Home service, check out the video clips below.

Service FAQs

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/nurse of a particular gender (e.g. female doctor), tell the receptionist when you book the appointment. You can also take someone with you (such as your partner or a friend) if you wish.

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 will contact you if you have a positive result. The nurse and doctor will give you advice and information on what to do next.  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 three 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 in the future.

Does the service provide fertility checks?

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

What is the eC-Card Scheme?

The eC-Card scheme is a scheme that provides FREE condoms for young people over16ys and under 25yrs who are residents of Essex*.

To register for the scheme download the app from Google Play or the Apple App store or see one of our assessors at a registration point. Once accepted to the scheme you can visit one of our many outlets where you will be able to collect your condoms, registration lasts twelve months.  A full list of venues is included in the app or available from a registration point.

You will not have to give the collection points any of your personal details.

PLEASE NOTE: The eC-Card scheme will launch in the Summer of 2018.

 

* Excludes Southend.

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. 

About

Our values

Knowledge / Dedication / Credibility / Open-mindedness / Diversity

We want to be described as

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

 Provide, as the 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:

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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Latest News & Updates

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