Sexual health services for LGBTQ+ people
It’s important to create a space to talk openly and safely about practicing safe sex and what you expect from your partner to support you to enjoy safe sex.
Testing, advice and guidance, and access to PrEP and PEP is available near you.
Sexual health for gay and bisexual men
Having unprotected penetrative sex is the most likely way to pass on a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Using a condom helps protect against HIV and lowers the risk of getting many other STIs.
If you’re a man having sex with men (MSM), without condoms and with someone new, you should have an STI and HIV test every 3 months. Otherwise, it should be at least once a year. This is important, as some STIs do not cause any symptoms.
Reducing your risk of contracting HIV
PrEP (HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a medication that can help reduce your risk of contracting HIV. It is available on the NHS for free. PrEP is available to HIV negative people who are at risk from HIV infection. If you think you need PrEP, discuss this with your sexual health provider. You will be invited to have an assessment by a health advisor to see if you fit the criteria for PrEP.
What to do if you think you’ve been exposed to HIV
PEP, sometimes known as PEPSE (post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) is a combination of HIV drugs that can stop the virus taking hold. It can be used after the event if you’ve been at risk of HIV transmission.
To work, PEP must be taken within 72 hours (three days), and should be taken as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours. Contact your sexual health clinic if you think you need PEP. If you need PEP and your sexual health clinic isn’t open, your nearest A&E may be able to help. Sexual Assault Referral Centres can also start PEP for victims of sexual assault. Taking PEP will not protect you from other STIs or unplanned pregnancy.