What is sexual health?

Sexual health can be an important part of your overall health and wellbeing no matter your age or gender.

Sex can be a positive, pleasurable and life enhancing part of our experience regardless of our age. Looking after our sexual health is important and being older does not offer protection against sexual transmitted infections.

The information provided on this page will provide you with information, advice, and support around your sexual health.

Sexual Health Service in Somerset

Somerset Integrated Sexual Health Service (SWISH) is a specialist sexual health and contraception service. It is part of the NHS. It offers a comprehensive range of services regardless of age, gender, or sexual identity. This is a confidential service, and the service does not link back to GP notes unless in agreement with the service user.

Their website features ‘Ask Swish’ which is a way of asking the service an anonymous question or to read what others have asked and the replies. The service can be contacted by telephone at 0300 1245 010.

Emergency contraception

Emergency Hormonal Contraception can be obtained free from your GP, Minor Injury Units and Somerset Wide Integrated Sexual Health Service (SWISH). In addition, there are some Community Pharmacies that offer it free to under 25’s. It is important to telephone ahead to check the pharmacist on duty is trained to deliver this free service.

Please visit the SWISH Emergency Hormonal Contraception information page to find out more.


There are many different types of contraception available, the most common being the contraceptive pill, however speak to your GP or health care professional about which type of contraception might be right for you. Please visit the SWISH contraception information page to find out more.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can affect anyone at any age, they are infections that are usually passed on through sex or close physical contact. STIs can be tested for at clinics or online and follow up treatment arranged if you test positive for an STI. For more information on the different types of STIs, how to get test kits or to make an appointment visit the SWISH STIs and HIV information pages.


Pregnancy can occur even if you are using contraception.

If you think there may be a chance that you are pregnant and unsure what to do, it is important to speak to someone about your options. Please visit the SWISH pregnancy information page to find out more.


Somerset Wide integrated Sexual health service (SWISH) offers a free, non-judgemental, and confidential services to support your contraceptive and sexual health needs, including vaccinations and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Please visit the SWISH LGBTQ+ information pages for more information.

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Sexual abuse can take many forms, such as sexual assault, sexual exploitation, consent or domestic abuse. Whether it has happened recently or some time ago, it is important to seek advice and support. Please visit the SWISH sexual abuse and exploitation information page to find out more.

Last reviewed: January 24, 2024 by John-Mark

Next review due: July 24, 2024

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