Sexual Health Services during COVID-19
During the Coronavirus lockdown period the Umbrella Sexual Health Service delivered by University Hospitals Birmingham is still available for Birmingham and Solihull residents.
General Sexual Health Information
Although most Umbrella clinics are shut due to coronavirus and aren’t seeing walk in patients right now, you can still get sexual health information and advice online.
If you have symptoms of an STI or have any sexual health concerns you can talk to somebody and get help by calling 0121 237 5700 (9:00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday).
Routine and Emergency Contraception
Do you need emergency or routine contraception? We may be in lockdown, but you can still get emergency contraception free from your GP or local pharmacy - phone ahead first to ask. Alternatively call Umbrella on 0121 237 5700 (9:00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday) for advice about what to do.
If you’re thinking about emergency contraception, Umbrella can help you to understand your options if you have had unprotected sex within the last three to five days.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s)
If you’re worried about STI’s you can get tested at home for free for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and syphilis.
Sexual health is just a part of your overall physical and mental health and it is important to look after in just the same way.
This means making sure that you avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy, through safe sex, and using the services which are available to help.
Free contraception and testing and treatment for STIs is available to all people in Solihull, from your family doctor or from specialist Sexual Health service clinics. All services are free and completely confidential.
Good sexual health
If you are worried about anything to do with sex and your sexual health, your GP is a good place to turn for advice and family doctors can provide all types of routine contraception including the pill, condoms and emergency contraception (often called the ‘morning after pill’).
Many can also provide and fit Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) methods such as the coil and implant which can last up to five years with no additional effort from you.
Often the first step to looking after your sexual health is simply to find out more. There following links can help you find, good reliable sources of general sexual health information:
- Your Contraception guide - NHS
- Contraception Choices - NHS National Institute for Health Research
- NHS - general health information
Solihull Sexual Health Services
In Solihull and Birmingham Sexual Health services are provided by Umbrella.
Umbrella Sexual Health Services provide advice, information and help for you whatever your sexual health needs. This includes:
- all types of contraception, including long term methods such as injections, coils and implants
- emergency contraception
- testing for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, either in clinic or at home using a self-sampling kit
- treatment for STIs such as chlamydia, syphilis, herpes and gonorrhoea
- Chlamydia screening for young people aged 15 - 24
- advice about unprotected sex
- support for people sexually exploited or abused
- pregnancy testing and referral for termination
- advice and support for LGBTQ sexual health
Visit the Umbrella website to:
- request a self sampling STI testing kit to use at home
- find out what services are available locally
- book an appointment online
The two main Umbrella clinics in Solihull are
You can contact the Umbrella service by calling 0121 237 5700 for details of services and to book appointments.
Most services are available on a ‘walk in’ basis, but booking your appointment may result in a shorter wait.
Umbrella also provide all the Sexual Health services in Birmingham so you can use any of the clinics and services there as well as those in Solihull.
All local GPs provide advice and routine methods of contraception such as the oral contraceptive pill, emergency contraception, contraceptive injections and some also provide LARC, coils and implants.
Many Solihull Pharmacies also provide emergency hormonal contraception (EHC)
Other Sexual Health Services
Umbrella works with lots of partners and other voluntary organisations, which provide specialist services and support, including:
- the Birmingham LGBT centre
- Solihull Integrated Addiction Services (SIAS)
- Rape and Sexual Violence Project (RSVP)
In Birmingham many pharmacies offer a wide range of services as part of Umbrella, which you can access free - see Umbrella website for details of those near you.
Umbrella run a specialist service for Young People, based upstairs at the Boots Birmingham City Centre. You can contact the service by calling 0121 237 5700.
If you are pregnant and don’t want to have a baby, you can go direct to the local termination service, BPAS to discuss your options. There’s no need for a referral from a GP or sexual health clinic and clinics are based locally in Solihull and Birmingham.
Contraception is free for everyone, and services are completely confidential, even for young people under 16 (but over 13).
Condoms are a barrier form of contraception and so stop infections and pregnancy, although other types of contraception are more reliable.
Other contraceptive methods do not stop infections, but are more effective in preventing unplanned pregnancy. All GPs can provide oral contraceptives and injectable contraceptives, and some can also fit coils and implant Long-acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). Umbrella clinics can provide all kinds of contraception methods, including LARCs and condoms.
If you have sex without contraception, emergency contraception can be used up to 5 days afterwards and is available free from your GP, some Pharmacies and Umbrella clinics. Emergency contraception is more effective if used as soon as possible after having unprotected sex.
Safe sex and reducing risk
STIs and unwanted pregnancy are avoidable - you can reduce your risk by having safe sex. Safe sex means you take steps before sex and while having sex, by using condoms, not having sex when affected by alcohol or drugs, and finding out how to minimise risks for different kinds of sexual activity.
Condoms are the most effective barrier method which protect against sexually transmitted infections and so should be used when having sex, especially with a new partner. Using another contraceptive as well, such as the pill, will reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy too.