Sexual Health

What are STI's and how do i know if i have one?

STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. These can be passed through all types of sex and sometimes you may experience symptoms. However, many STIs are symptomless, so it is important to get tested regularly. The NHS recommends that sexually active people get tested at least every six months, and each time you have a new sexual partner. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, STIs can have a lasting impact and they can do some real damage to your health if they go untreated. Please refer to the NHS website for further guidance on STI
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sexually-transmitted-infections-stis/

 

How do i get tested in Surrey?

There are a few different ways you can go about getting tested in Surrey. Here are a few methods you can take:

  • The Students' Union offer LGBTQ+ friendly STI test kits free of charge on each campus, so pop in and see us and we can give you one.
  • Order a test online via the NHS. This is free for under 25’s and there is a fee if not. Find out more via this website.
  • There are several walk-in clinics you can go to – find your local one here.

 

How do i get tested in Kent?

There are different routes you can take to get tested in Kent, see them below:

  • The Students' Union offer LGTBQ+ friendly STI test kits free of charge on each campus, so pop in and see us and we can give you one.
  • Order a test online here.
  • There are several walk-in clinics you can go to – find your local one here.

 

What to expect at a sexual health clinic?

There will usually be a two-part questionnaire to gather information about your sexual history, followed by a clinical examination if the clinician feels like it might be necessary. Most clinics offer a walk-in service so you don’t need to book an appointment, though you can find the specific operating hours and walk-in services of each clinic on their website.

In the questionnaire they are likely to ask you;

  • If you have had unprotected sex.
  • What your symptoms are (if any).
  • If you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection.
  • When your last period was (if you have a uterus and think you might be pregnant)
  • When you last had sex.

If they ask to examine you, they will likely want to have a look at the problem area. This can be daunting for some, and this is completely valid. The clinician should be patient with you, and if you need somebody in the room with you for support that is usually completely fine (this is also subject to the covid regulations of the clinic). Remind yourself that they see so many different parts every day and they are trained to be non-judgemental, so do your best to relax.

 

Safe Sex and Avoiding STI's

For any type of penetrative sex, the best way to avoid contracting an STI is by using condoms. Using a condom decreases the risk of contracting an STI, they are 98% effective at protecting against most STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. For sex between people with vaginas, the best way to stay safe is to get tested regularly and make sure your partner is tested too. The NHS outline some other ways for this type of sex to be as safe as possible here.

 

Accessing Condoms

  • If you are in Surrey, The ‘C card’ Scheme is a free confidential condom distribution network scheme. The scheme provides free condoms for people between ages 13-24. Sign up anonymously through the Students' Union and then whenever you need access to the service you simply need to show your Fob.
  • If you are in Kent, The ‘Get it’ Scheme is a free confidential condom distribution network scheme. The scheme provides free condoms for people between ages 13-24. Sign up anonymously through the Students' Union and then whenever you need access to the service you simply need to show your Fob.
  • If you are a student over 24, please do pop into the Students' Union and we can provide you with some condoms free of charge.