Sexual health information for young people

For information about our specialist sexual health service provider’s opening times visit the Unity Sexual Health website.

Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being.   It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free from coercion, discrimination and violence.

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Free and confidential specialist sexual health services   

Unity Sexual Health

Unity Sexual Health is the specialist sexual health service provider covering all areas of South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset. They provide free and confidential sexual health services for all ages and sexualities and this includes young people’s clinics for under 25s.

To make an appointment with Unity Sexual Health or to speak to someone for advice:

The Unity Sexual Health website provides details of when the telephone lines and clinics are open.

Brook as part of the Unity Sexual Health Service, focus on providing free and confidential sexual health treatment, information and advice for young people aged 13 – 19 and have a clinic in Bristol

Pregnancy concerns and options

If you think you may be pregnant, you will need to do a pregnancy test as soon as possible.  

You can get a free pregnancy test kit from:

  • Some Unity Sexual Health clinics, including the Brook Young People’s clinic (For details check the clinics page).
  • Some GP surgeries can offer confidential free pregnancy testing – check with your GP surgery.
  • Test kits can also be purchased, including by those under 16 at supermarkets and pharmacies.

If you have had a positive pregnancy test, information is available about your pregnancy options and support available on the Unity website.  You may also want to talk to your family or friends for support.    

If you would like advice about pregnancy options, you can talk to someone confidentially at the Pregnancy Advisory clinic on 0345 872 5435 (7am-8pm daily). You can also complete an online booking form available from the Unity Sexual Health pregnancy options webpage to arrange to talk to someone.

Emergency contraception 

If you have had unprotected sex (no contraception used) or a contraceptive failure (burst condom, missed pills) and want to reduce the risk of becoming pregnant you will need to use emergency contraception.

Emergency hormonal contraception should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex to reduce the risk of becoming pregnant and can be taken up to 5 days (120 hrs) after.  You may be offered a copper intrauterine device (IUD, also known as a copper coil) or an emergency hormonal contraception pill, depending on your situation and your preferences.     

Even if the unprotected sex was more than 5 days (120hrs) ago and you want to try and reduce your risk of becoming pregnant you should call Unity Sexual Health on 0117 342 6900 straight away.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

STIs can be passed from one person to another through vaginal, oral and anal sex. You are most at risk if you have had sex without a condom, but it is still possible to get an infection when a condom has been used. It is a good idea to get tested following sex with any new partner(s).  Many STIs have no symptoms.  

Where else can I access sexual health information and services?

GP surgery – they can provide confidential information about sexual health, pregnancy, and abortion and also provide contraception and/or testing/ treatment for STIs. You can book your own appointment and attend alone if you wish.   

School Nurse - you can talk confidentially at their drop-in clinics at secondary schools and can contact them using the confidential Chat Health Service - text 07312 263093  (open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm and charged at your usual rate). 

The National Sexual Health Helpline

If you would like to confidentially talk to someone about your sexual health you can call the national sexual health helpline free on:

  • Phone 0300 123 7123. This helpline is open from 9am - 8pm Monday to Friday and 11am – 4pm Saturday and Sunday. 

Free condoms

C.Card image

South Gloucestershire operates a free condom distribution scheme called C.Card. You can collect free condoms from places that display this logo, which show that they’re part of the scheme. 

The South Gloucestershire C.Card scheme is a confidential service for those aged 13 to 24 to get access to free condoms and lubricant, information about local sexual health services and support from a trained worker. The scheme is available to young people of all genders and sexualities and you don’t have to be sexually active to join the scheme – it is better to be prepared if you are thinking about having sex. 

To use the scheme you first need to register for a C.Card.  This involves a confidential appointment with a trained worker who will:

  • explain the scheme and how to use condoms safely
  • answer any questions you might have
  • give you free condoms and sachets of lubrication.  Also available are internal condoms or dams
  • give you a C.Card that is a small plastic keyring card that has a unique number on it 

Places in South Gloucestershire that provide the C.Card scheme include:  

Secondary Schools    

The C.Card is available in secondary schools via the weekly school nurse drop-in clinic (ask your school for details of the day/time) or ask a school staff member.

The Chat Health Service can support you with the C.Card, relationships and sexual health.  This confidential service is open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. Send a text message to 07312 263093 for confidential advice and support and to chat with a School Nurse.  

South Gloucestershire & Stroud (SGS) College

Students enrolled with SGS College can access the C.Card through the college’s Wellbeing Service.  Contact details for the Wellbeing Service at each SGS College campus are available on the SGS college website

GP surgeries

Some GP surgeries in South Gloucestershire provide registration to the scheme, usually during booked appointments for contraception or other sexual health care. Please ask at your GP surgery if they currently offer the C.Card. 

Youth Centres/Youth Groups

The following youth services in South Gloucestershire offer the C.Card.  Please check which youth sessions will have the C.Card on offer. You can find contact details on the relevant youth service webpages: 

Organisations supporting young people who are homeless, leaving care or at risk of homelessness 

  • 1625 Independent People drop-in at the Patchway office on Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00pm - 4.30pm at 23 The Parade, Patchway, BS34 5LP.  C card registration and pick up of free condoms available.   

Consent

Sex should be enjoyable and must always be agreed to by everyone involved. Giving consent means saying 'yes' and with the freedom and capacity to make that choice, without being forced and without being concerned or worried about what will happen if you say ‘No’.

To find out more about consenting to sex, visit:

Sexual violence and abuse

Sexual violence is a term that is used to describe any sexual activity that happened without consent.   There are lots of different types of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse.  Anyone can experience sexual violence.   If you have experienced any kind of sexual violence, it was not your fault and you are in no way to blame.  Help and support is available.    

Getting help if you have experienced sexual violence such as sexual assault or rape

If you have experienced any sexual violence such as sexual assault or rape, there are people who can provide support and advice. Please remember that whatever your circumstances, what has happened was not your fault and help is available. 

  • If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
  • Survivor Pathway is an online resource for anyone wanting to know more about specialist sexual violence support services in the South West.
  • You can also find an extensive list of places to go to for help on our Domestic Abuse webpage.

These free and confidential local services listed below can help and support you. You don’t need to have reported the incident to the Police to use these services.

Safelink support for victims of sexual assault or rape

Safelink provide independent support for anyone (women, men, and children) who has been the victim of rape and sexual abuse across the whole of Avon and Somerset area including South Gloucestershire.  You do NOT have to report to the police to access this service.  

Somerset & Avon Rape & Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS)

SARSAS provides confidential support to people of all genders age 13+ in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath & NE Somerset, North Somerset and Somerset, who have experienced rape or any kind of sexual assault or abuse at any time in their lives.  To find out more about this service:

Kinergy counselling service support for survivors of sexual abuse or rape

Kinergy is a registered charity offering specialist trauma informed counselling, group therapy and a support group to people of all genders age 18+, who have experienced any form of sexual abuse or sexual violence during their life. Services are offered to anyone who lives in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BANES and North Somerset. 

To find out more about these services you can contact Kinergy:

The Bridge

The Bridge is a confidential specialist service for people affected by rape and sexual assault.

The Bridge can be accessed 24/7, 365 days a year.

They can offer emotional and psychological support, medical care, practical help, information about reporting to the police, and counselling.  The service is Bristol-based but also supports young people in South Gloucestershire.