Accessing Sexual & Reproductive Health Services

Sexual and reproductive health services are available throughout Northern Ireland.

Where can I access contraception?

There are many different forms of contraception, and different methods will suit different people. Sexual and reproductive health clinics offer a full range of contraceptive services including long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) such as coils and implants, which are the most effective methods.

GP practices can also prescribe contraception, with some practices providing a full range of contraceptive services.

Online sexual health specialists SH:24 can provide the emergency contraception pill (‘the morning after pill’), the combined contraceptive pill (‘the pill’), the progesterone only pill (‘mini pill’) and repeat supplies of the self-injectable Sayana Press.

The emergency contraceptive pill and a three-month supply of the progesterone only pill can be accessed for free in participating community pharmacies across Northern Ireland through the Pharmacy First scheme. An interactive map of all pharmacies providing this service can be viewed here.

Progesterone only pills (Hana and Lovima) are available to buy in pharmacies and online without prescription.

The C-Card (Condom Distribution) Scheme is a confidential sexual health service for young people aged 16 – 25 years. This initiative provides free condoms, lubricants, information support and advice at convenient times and in a variety of locations across local communities.

Central booking numbers – contraception

Belfast Trust
028 9504 5500
Monday to Thursday 9am to 11.30am and 1.30pm to 3.30pm
Friday 9am to 11.30am

Northern Trust
028 2826 6163
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 9am to 4.30pm
Tuesday and Friday 9am to 3pm

South Eastern Trust
028 9041 3796
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.00am to 12.30pm

Southern Trust
028 37562 200
Times vary – answer machine will advise

Western Trust
028 7161 1269
Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm

Common Youth offer advice and contraception to young people aged under 25. For more information, email or call 028 9032 8866.

Where can I access STI testing and treatment?

STIs are passed to another person through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, by genital contact and through the sharing of sex toys. You don’t need to have multiple sexual partners to contract an STI.

The length of time it takes from contracting an STI to it showing up on a test varies depending on the type of infection. This is often referred to as the ‘window period’. The window period for chlamydia and gonorrhoea is two weeks. This means a test taken less than two weeks after unprotected sex might not pick up these infections. For a blood test, the window period is longer, seven weeks after potential exposure for HIV, and 12 weeks for syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. However, Hepatitis C can sometimes take up to six months to show in a test.

If you are worried that you may have contracted an STI but don’t have any symptoms you can order a free home test kit from SH:24.

Symptoms may include pain during sex, irregular bleeding, pain when passing urine or unusual discharge. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should arrange an appointment in a genito-urinary medicine (GUM) service.

If you think you have been exposed to HIV, contact a GUM service or your nearest Emergency Department within 72 hours of exposure to seek advice as you may be eligible for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is medication that can help prevent the development of HIV.

HIV testing is also available at Positive Life and the Rainbow Project.

Central booking numbers – STIs

Belfast Trust
028 9615 2111
Monday to Friday 8.15am to 11.00am

Northern Trust
028 7034 6028
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

South Eastern Trust
028 4483 8133
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

Southern Trust
028 3756 2080
Monday to Friday 9.00am to 12pm

Western Trust
028 7161 1269
Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm

Common Youth run an STI service for young people under 25 in their clinics in Belfast and Coleraine. For more information, email or call 028 9032 8866.

The Belfast Trust runs a clinic every Wednesday from 2-5pm in the Crumlin Road Health Centre. This is open to anyone under the age of 25, with no appointment necessary.

There is also a walk in GUM clinic in QUB Students Union during term time on Mondays 10-3pm. This offers sexual health advice, testing and treatments.

Where can I access information and support?

Informing Choices have the digital licence for sexual health patient information leaflets in Northern Ireland. We also provide hard copies for FREE. These gold standard leaflets inform on contraceptive choices, STIs and reproductive health and wellbeing. Additional support can also be provided by calling our Sexual Health Helpline on 028 90 316 100.

Where can I access pregnancy counselling?

Sometimes when faced with an unplanned or crisis pregnancy it is difficult to discuss it with family and friends. This can leave you feeling vulnerable and isolated at a time when you need support. We can help you by providing non-directive pregnancy choices counselling and support on all your options. We also provide post pregnancy counselling. For more information please visit our Pregnancy Counselling page.

Where can I access abortion?

Accessing abortion will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are, and which area of Northern Ireland you live in. For information on this service, please see our Abortion Care – Northern Ireland page.