It is important to look after your sexual health whatever your age. Safer sex means protecting yourself and your partners from catching STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
If you are sexually active, you may be at risk of catching an STI (also known as a STD). Practising safer sex and always using a condom reduces the risk of infection and pregnancy.
If you think you may have an STI we would advise you to get tested.
Where to get a test
Visit the Sexual Health South West London website for a full list of clinics across Wandsworth, Richmond and Merton.
There are six clinics across the three boroughs, offering contraception and sexual health testing, treatment and advice and are opened for six days a week including Saturdays. The services provided in these clinics are free and confidential. You can book an appointment yourself or attend in an emergency. You do not need your GP to refer you for care, nor do you need to live locally.
Please call the booking and advice line on 0333 300 2100 to check which clinic you should use. Lines are open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and on Saturday mornings. A recorded message gives useful information outside of these hours.
You can also find other clinics and services near you on the NHS Choices website.
STI testing at home
Sexual Health London (SHL) online testing programme offers free and easy access to STI testing kits (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, Hepatitis B and C) for Londoners aged 16 and over who have mild or no STI symptoms. Kits can be sent directly to the individual’s home address or alternatively can be picked up from a local sexual health clinic.
Freetesting is the national HIV testing service providing free online HIV and syphilis tests for sexually active individuals aged 16 and over. If you would rather just test for HIV, then this service may suit you better than SHL.uk. You can choose for the kit to be delivered to any address, and there is an option to also test for syphilis, as syphilis rates are on the rise.
Getting it On offers information for young people aged 13 to 19 about sexual health and drug and alcohol services in South West London.
Young people under the age of 25 can get free condoms from the Come Correct scheme available across a number of boroughs in London, and those aged between 16 and 24 can get a free chlamydia test.
To facilitate young people’s access to condoms and STI testing, METRO has introduced a new online service for under 25s living in Richmond and Wandsworth to order free condoms, lube and chlamydia tests.
Your GP surgery provides you with free contraceptives (as a free prescription), and some surgeries offer long acting reversible contraception (LARC) such as Coil (IUD/IUS), injection and implant . They can also remove and / or replace these if you wish to change your type of contraception.
All of these types of contraception including IUD/S are available to you regardless of your age or if you have been pregnant before. The FPA website can help you decide on which is best for you. It provides information on the different types and methods of contraception.
All GPs can screen you for chlamydia and gonorrhoea if you are sexually active and under 25 year old. GPs can test you for HIV whatever your age.
GPs are the place you need to go for your regular smear test (cervical screening). You don’t need to be sexually active to have this done. The test looks for early signs of abnormalities in cells than can lead to cancer so it is important to attend.
How regularly you need to attend the smear test:
- For 24 to 49 year olds this needs to be done every 3 years
- For people aged 50 to 64 years old this needs to be done every 5 years
Your local pharmacy
The following pharmacies in the borough provide emergency contraception (EHC or morning after pill) which prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. These pills are effective for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.
3-5 King Street,
C Goode Pharmacy
22 London Road
1 Cross Deep Court, Heath Road
177 Ashburnham Road,
Ham, Richmond upon Thames
Whitton Corner Pharmacy
Young people's services in pharmacies provide free condoms and chlamydia testing for under 25s.
Sexual health webinars
In partnership with our sexual health service providers, charities Spectra and METRO, we have created webinars about Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
Information for professionals
Richmond Council is a member of the GUM Collaborative Commissioning Arrangement and expects services to be delivered in accordance with any contract reached through this arrangement.
Payments for GUM services will be made only on receipt of the required backing data and in accordance with our Terms and Conditions:
Up to: Looking after your health
Updated: 20 January 2023