The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on all our lives. It will be some time before anything returns to normal. To continue protecting yourself and others from COVID-19 infection, it is important that you follow national guidance to reduce the risk of catching the virus. In particular, continue physical distancing, wearing of face coverings where physical distancing is not possible, and hand hygiene.
If you are eligible to have a free flu vaccine, we urge you to take up this offer. Vaccines are incredibly safe and have saved millions of lives. They basically expose you to proteins from dead bacteria or viruses (which is much safer than being exposed to live bacteria or viruses). These stimulate your immune system to produce antibodies which protect you from infection.
Sexual Health Dorset has remained open for business throughout lockdown. However in response to the COVID-19 pandemic we have had to make some changes to the way we provide some of our services.
If you don’t have symptoms but just want a sexual health check, you don’t need to book an appointment. Sexual Health Dorset has partnered with SH:24 to enable Dorset residents to have free access to home kits for HIV and STI testing. You can also apply online for oral contraceptive pills through SH:24. Visit the SH:24 website for more information.
Our capacity for face to face consultations is reduced considerably due to physical distancing and cleaning requirements. Anyone phoning for an appointment or advice (0300 303 1948) will be called back by a nurse, usually within 24 hours, to see whether or not they need to be seen face to face. Unless you have an urgent problem, you may have to wait a few weeks for a face to face appointment.
We are not offering any walk-in services at present. Over the Rainbow and all services to young people under 18 continue to be available – so please do contact us on the central number 0300 303 1948.
If you have a face to face appointment booked, you will be asked to attend alone, at the arranged time, and to wear a face covering. You will be asked if you have any symptoms suggesting COVID-19 infection, and will have your temperature checked on arrival at the clinic. See SHD COVID Advice for Patients.
If you do have symptoms or need to make an appointment for treatment, contraception, PEP and PrEP or would like to speak to a health care professional, please call our central number 0300 303 1948. Someone will take your details and let you know when a healthcare professional will call you back. To reduce face to face contact, most of your consultation will be taken over the phone and either resolved with a prescription or a ‘click and collect’ service. If you need to be seen, an appointment will be made for you.
Our HIV clinics are running as usual, but for those who are well and whose infection is well controlled, we may change your appointment to a phone consultation and defer blood monitoring by 6 months. Please also see Terence Higgins Trust or British HIV Association for further advice.
Some people may be living in fear, with abusive partners or other family members. You First provide support to anyone affected by domestic violence or abuse. You can call them on 0800 032 5204. If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 999 then either dial 55 or just give a cough, and the police will attend.