14th September 2020
FAQs - YSH website Coronavirus
Sexual Health Services/Urgent/Emergencies
Are sexual health services open?
During the COVID 19 global pandemic our services have changed to comply with government guidelines and recommendations.
We do not currently have a walk in service in any of our clinics and we can only see people by appointment. If you have a sexual health or contraceptive concern please call 01904 721111 and a nurse will call you back to discuss your choices. If you are given an appointment to attend please be reassured that all safety measures are in place to protect against infection. We will ask you to wear a face covering and to attend on your own (contact us if this is a problem for you).
Online services, telephone consultations and some postal treatments are available for residents of York and North Yorkshire
What should I do if I have had unprotected sex and don’t want to be pregnant?
DON’T DELAY! The quicker you seek emergency contraception, the more effective it is likely to be. There are various options for accessing emergency contraception and you can call us on 01904 721111 for advice, ask your GP, or visit a pharmacy who can provide you with emergency contraception and advice. You can also contact NHS111 if our clinics/your GP is closed, but bear in mind this service may be very busy at the moment dealing with Coronavirus enquiries.
What should I do if I think I may have had sexual contact with a person who has HIV?
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) treatment is available free of charge from Sexual Health clinics and A&E departments and needs to be started within 72 hours of a risk. Please do not just turn up at a YorSexualHealth service - ring our booking line on 01904 721111 first. If you have a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, you should not attend A&E if possible - ring NHS111 for advice if our clinics are closed.
I have been sexually assaulted
Help and support is available through Mountain Healthcare and you can self-refer by calling 0330 223 0362. If you want to talk with one of our sexual health nurses first please call us in confidence on 01904 721111. Mountain Healthcare provides Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) services across Yorkshire and is still operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, with all services being carried out in line with current guidance and with additional health and safety measures in place
Professionals can download a SARC poster here
What do I do if I have symptoms and think I could have a STI (sexually transmitted infection)?
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should ring our booking line on 01904 721111 and ask to speak with a nurse. If necessary we will arrange an appointment for you to attend for tests and treatment (if appropriate)
Pain in your testicles or a discharge from your penis
Acute pelvic pain in women (lower abdomen/womb area)
New genital sores or ulcers(but not genital warts)
Rectal discharge (if you have receptive anal sex)
If you have been told that you’ve had sex with someone who has a confirmed STI and you are also noticing new symptoms, please call us to discuss testing. If an ongoing sexual partner has tested positive for an STI please contact us to discuss this.
Most other symptoms are unlikely to be serious. Your pharmacist can advise you about treatments for common vaginal infections such as Thrush or Bacterial Vaginosis - you don’t need to attend a sexual health clinic as these are not sexual infections.
I think I might be pregnant - what shall I do?
Reliable pregnancy tests can be purchased online or at a Pharmacy, or you can contact abortion providers or your GP if you wouldn’t wish to continue with a pregnancy. The quicker you find out/make a decision, the better. New laws have been passed which allow ‘medical terminations’ (abortions) to be completed at home rather than in a clinic if this is safe to do so.
Abortion services are still available and available free of charge. These services are provided locally by Marie Stopes and BPAS.
For information on British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) click here
For iinformation on Marie Stopes click here
I am in an abusive relationship and don’t know where to go for help/I don’t want to have sex with my partner at the moment but they are pressurising me
Help and support is available to you if you are isolated with someone you are afraid of or are in an abusive relationship. Contact IDAS on 03000 1101 10 (North Yorkshire) or 0808 2000 247 (National 24 hour helpline) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
IDAS have expanded their online Live Chat to help ensure that support is available
The government have published a document with advice and guidance for those experiencing/at risk of domestic abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic
You are allowed to leave your house to seek safety elsewhere if you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse.
During COVID-19, if you are experiencing domestic abuse, we understand that home is not safe.
UK SAYS NO MORE is working with with Boots UK, Superdrug Pharmacies, and independent pharmacies that have signed up to the Safe Spaces scheme, to facilitate their pharmacy consultancy rooms as a Safe Space for victims of domestic abuse during COVID-19.
Their consultancy rooms are open, ready for you to use and will display information on how to access specialist domestic abuse services.
How to access a Safe Space
If you are under 18 or are living in a situation where you are unable to call us, please text us on 07980 973337.
I have had sex with someone outside of my own household/bubble and I am worried I may be reported if I contact the clinic
Whilst we advise everyone to follow the rules about social distancing in order to reduce the risk of transmission of Coronavirus, we will not report anyone and you will be treated with kindness and respect if you need our help. Please don’t delay in seeking help if you have concerns about your sexual health.
General Sexual Health Concerns
Can you catch Covid-19 (Coronavirus) through sex?
Covid-19 is not a sexually transmitted infection as far as we know, but it is very easily picked up or passed on through close/intimate contact. Kissing is a high risk and it may be that the virus can be transmitted through other body fluids/faeces - we’re not certain yet
I am worried about having a STI but am self-isolating at home/don’t want to go to a clinic
We are only seeing emergencies/urgent issues at our clinics during the Coronavirus pandemic. Free online testing is available through our website for anyone aged 16 or over if any of the following risks apply:
- you have mild symptoms and can't phone for advice
- you are a man who has sex with men
- you are from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic group
- you have been advised to test by a Sexual Health clinic
- you have been told that you have had sexual contact with a person who has been diagnosed with a STI
- you have never had a STI check or have had a new sexual partner since your last test
I want some condoms but am self-isolating/don’t want to go out if I can avoid it
Remember the rules about social distancing! None of us should be having sex with anyone other than members of our own household (always consensual of course).
If you need condoms to protect against STIs and/or pregnancy we have opened up our free online Condom Distribution Scheme to anyone over 16 living in York or North Yorkshire. Condoms can also be bought online or at the pharmacy and supermarkets.
I am due another Hepatitis/HPV vaccination - what should I do?
At this time we are unable to offer routine vaccinations but it is safe to resume your course of vaccinations at a later date. If you feel you are at very high risk of contracting a blood born virus (BBV) during the COVID 19 pandemic please call 01904 721111 to discuss your concerns with a nurse
I have genital warts/I am due to return to the clinic for wart treatment
Genital warts can be uncomfortable or unsightly but they are not a danger to your health and will often disappear on their own. Call us on 01904 721111 if you are experiencing problems caused by warts or if you are pregnant
I have a reoccurrence of genital herpes
Herpes is a self-limiting condition and often resolves without treatment within a few days. However if your symptoms are severe, not improving with self-help or causing you distress please call your GP or our clinic - it may be possible for you to arrange to collect a prescription for treatment if you have had this before.
Can I talk with a counsellor about my sexual health concerns?
YorSexualHealth provides a free counselling service for people living within York and North Yorkshire who wish to seek support around different aspects of sexual health. Our counsellors are still providing this free and confidential service through telephone and video consultations. Find out more here
I am taking PrEP and need more supplies
Please remember that you should be following the rules about social distancing. If you take PrEP to protect you against HIV with a partner living in your household, please contact the place you got your last prescription from in plenty of time to arrange a new supply
I have HIV and am worried about catching Coronavirus
If you are HIV positive and worried about your risk of coronavirus there is currently no evidence that people living with HIV are at greater risk of either getting coronavirus, or becoming unwell due to coronavirus. However the British HIV Association recommend that HIV positive people with a CD4 count less than 50 follow the 12 week self isolation advice. All of our patients with a CD4 count less than 50 have been contacted by the clinic, so you do not need to attend the clinic to find out your CD4 count.
I am running out of contraceptive pills
If you normally access your pill from the GP they may be able to arrange a repeat prescription for you. If you normally get your pill from YSH we may be able to post this to you following a telephone assessment. It is also possible to access repeat contraception from some online pharmacies and some high street pharmacies can issue an emergency supply of contraception if you are unable to access it another way.
I need an implant fitting
We are now able to fit long acting reversible contraception (LARC) such as implants and coils and will initially prioritise those needing new/first LARC. Call us for advice on what to do if your implant or coil is due to expire soon. We may advise you to use a different method of contraception during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect you from an unplanned pregnancy.
I am due my Depo/Sayana Press injection soon
We are unable to issue continuation of depo injections and have limited stock of sayana press which we may be able to post to you if you have previously been assessed within our service. We may be able to offer you a progesterone only pill to take during the COVID 19 pandemic and can switch you back to your preferred method once the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, alternatively condoms can be used until you are able to restart your preferred method.
My copper coil/IUS is due to expire soon
Current national guidelines support extended use of contraception’s as the risk of pregnancy is thought to be very low but evidence for this is limited. Current guidelines advise that the implant can be used for 4 years, Mirena/Levosert IUS 6 years and T-safe 380 copper coil 12 years. If you are concerned about extended use you can use condoms or a progesterone only pill in addition to your LARC method.
What are the risks of Covid-19 in pregnancy?
As yet very little is known about Covid-19 in pregnancy. Check here for the latest information and guidance