Sexual Health 2018-02-15T13:33:55+00:00

Sexual Health

The Herts Aid Public Health Team is committed to using every opportunity to encourage healthier lifestyle choices.

Sexual health is an important part of your health & wellbeing. Herts Aid works to improve awareness across Hertfordshire and encourages people to take responsibility for their sexual health. It is just as important as physical and mental health.

We do this by making every contact count, to achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes.

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Our Services include:

The rapid HIV testing service that uses a finger prick test, which gives results in minutes. Any reactive result will be fast tracked to Sexual Health Hertfordshire with our continued support.

Offers free condoms, lubricants and other barriers.

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Offered at all sexual health workshops and awareness events for 15-24yr olds.

Workforce Training

Workshops for professionals and volunteers to help organisations provide support for clients living with HIV.

Sexual Health Awareness Training

Offered to schools, colleges, universities, GPs and other professionals.

Faith Leaders’ Training

Offered to faith leaders to equip them with the knowledge and facts about HIV and skills to confidently educate their Congregation and reduce late diagnosis by promoting Herts Aid HIV testing services.

Negotiating Skills Training for Safer Sex

Offered to the communities at risk of HIV, with the aim of improving their confidence in negotiating condom use and avoiding risky sexual behaviours.

HIV and STIs

It is important to have regular Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) checks at your clinic and ensure you are looking after yourself as well as your sexual partner.

  • Herts Aid is able to offer Rapid HIV testing with an instant result to anyone 16 years+
  • Chlamydia screening is also available to those aged 24 years & younger.

For information about sexually transmitted infections, read more on the NHS website.

Read about Living with HIV

STI Screening

To book an appointment for STI screening in Hertfordshire, visit Sexual Health Hertfordshire’s website by clicking this link.

For specific STIs, click the relevant button below:

PrEP and PEP

Find out how PREP and PEP are reducing HIV transmission

PrEP stands for Pre Exposure Prophylaxis. It is a tablet you take regularly, which protects you from HIV.

If you take PrEP once a day, you can maximize your protection against HIV by around 99%.  PrEP helps you stay HIV negative.

It does not protect against any other STI, only HIV. You need to take other precautions in addition to PrEP to protect yourself from all other STIs.

HIV is the only STI for which there is no cure. PrEP is a great additional tool which means you can be sure you are protected against HIV. If you are on PrEP and taking it correctly, you need not worry about a sexual partner’s HIV status because you are protecting your own negative status by taking PrEP

We recommend regular STI testing. You should have an HIV test every 3 months as part of the PrEP protocol.

For information & purchase visit view website.

PEP can stop HIV infection after the virus has entered the body.

  1. PEP is an emergency measure to be used as a last resort, eg if a condom breaks or you have a ‘slip up’ from your usual safer sex routine.
  2. PEP is a combination of powerful drugs and can be hard to get hold of, so it is no substitute for condoms, but it’s important to know about in case one day you or someone you’ve had sex with needs it.
  3. PEP is not guaranteed to always work but has a high success rate.
  4. It is free of charge but can only be prescribed by doctors and if certain criteria are met.

Sexual health and HIV clinics can provide it, as can Accident and Emergency departments of hospitals. Please note that regular family doctors (GPs) do not give PEP. Search here.

Case Studies

A 19 year old attended our testing drop-in. Herts Aid(HA) staff discussed the reasons for a test and our testing protocol. The service user was given the pre-test information sheet which explains: how the test works; our confidentiality policy and window period. The service user proceeded to fill in the form and consented to having the test.

Providing Full Facts, before Receiving Results

HA staff talked through how the test works. They explained how you could contract HIV, how HIV affects the immune system and the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment, sexual health and prevention methods.

HA staff also talked about what living with HIV looked like i.e. have a near normal life expectancy, being able to have HIV – negative children, being uninfectious if you adhere to treatment, possibilities of working in any sector without discrimination, Prep and Pep and finally highlighted the problems that PLWHIV still face despite all the above.

Receiving the Results

The test result came up with two lines which meant it is a reactive result. The service user was distraught and visibly upset. HA staff provided reassurance and offered to repeat the test. The second test results were also reactive. At this point the service user was very upset and shocked.

HA Staff offered a glass of water and explained the need to have a confirmatory test at a sexual health clinic. HA staff made an appointment for the service user and offered to take them, as well as support them, during the appointment. Emotional support was offered to the service user over the phone whenever needed, to help talk through any issues they faced or sign post them to other services.

The Clinic Appointments

HA Staff picked up the service user two days later and drove them to the clinic. They offered emotional support and reassurance throughout the whole appointment. The service user was requested to come back a week later for the results. HA Staff dropped service user back home and arranged to pick them up the following week.

The service user was picked up the following week and taken to the appointment. The tests confirmed a reactive result with a CD4 count of ≤200. Treatment was offered by the sexual health clinic, as well as an opportunity to ask questions and get reassurance.

HA staff provided their contact details and that of the HA HIV Support team together with information about Herts Aid services. Service user declined HIV Support at that point, but said they would be willing to reconsider their position at a later date.

Clinic Follow Up Appointment

HA staff picked up the service user a month later and took them to the sexual health clinic for a follow up appointment, to see how they were getting on with the medication and to have their bloods taken.

Service user’s experience was very positive with no major side effects to taking the medication, feeling very well within themselves and having lots more energy.

“I would not have been able to cope with the diagnosis without the support I received from Herts Aid.

They reassured me that I now have control of my health because I knew what I was dealing with. They offered me a lot of information and emotional support.

This helped me realise, despite my HIV status, I can still continue with my education, get a job, get married, start a family and look forward to a bright healthy future. Thank you so much!”

Learn More

HIV Facts & Myths
HIV Qs & As

Further Reading

Below are links to national HIV organisations for you to read about & find out more!