Common Myths

I'm a gay/lesbian woman so I don't need to have regular cervical screening (smear) tests...

WRONG

Anyone with a cervix should attend regular cervical screening appointments. This is important because cervical screening looks for abnormalities in the cervix which are usually caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is a really common virus that 80% of us will get at one point in our lives. HPV can be passed on between women, even if neither of them has ever had sexual contact with a man. this is because HPV is spread by skin to skin contact in the genital area, which can include sexual touching, sharing sex toys, oral sex and penetrative sex.

For more information on cervical screening, please click here

I'm a gay/lesbian woman so I am not at risk of STIs...

WRONG

Although the risk is lower, it is still possible to contract an STI if you are only having sexual contact with other women.

I can't get HIV, I am not gay...

WRONG

Anyone who comes into contact with HIV infected blood or semen can contract HIV. This can happen through unprotected sex (sex without a condom), or by sharing needles with someone who already has HIV.

A pregnant woman with HIV can also pass it to her unborn baby, or to a newborn through breast milk.

I know I don't have an STI, I don't have any symptoms...

WRONG

Many STIs do not show symptoms, or symptoms may take a long time to appear and often vary from person to person. The only way to know if you have an STI is to come and see us or another healthcare professional.

Men should dress and behave in a 'masculine' way and women in a 'feminine' way...

WRONG

These are social ideas about how people who have vulvas and vaginas and people who have penises and testicles should behave but there is no reason why men can't be feminine and women masculine.

Everyone is heterosexual (straight) or homosexual, gay or lesbian...

WRONG

In reality there are many diverse sexualities and genders, and people often move between them.

There is no right or wrong in how we want to identify

Trans men who are taking hormones can't get pregnant...

WRONG

Although it's not common, it is possible for a trans man to get pregnant. If you have a womb and ovaries and have sex with a man, pregnancy is a possibility!

Male and female are the only sexes...

WRONG

Some people have both make and female genetic, hormonal and physical features, this is know as 'intersex'.

I'm taking pre-exposure prophalaxis (PrEP) so I don't need to use condoms...

WRONG

If taken correctly, PrEP will prevent HIV, but you are still at risk of other STIs.

I've only been having oral sex, not penetrative sex so I am not at risk of STIs...

WRONG

Although the risk of getting an STI through oral sex is generally less than from vaginal or anal sex, there is still a risk. The STIs most commonly passed on through oral sex are Herpes Simplex, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis. Some STIs can also be passed on through skin to skin contact.

Condoms will protect me from all STIs...

WRONG

Some STIs can be passed on through skin to skin contact and there's always a risk that the condom may split.

STIs will go away on their own...

WRONG

It is very unlikely that an STI will go away by itself, and if you delay seeking treatment you risk the infection causing long term problems, as well as increasing the risk of passing it on to you sexual partner/s even if you don't have any signs or symptoms at the time.

Once you have had an STI, you can't get the same one...

WRONG

It is possible to get the same STI more than once; having the infection doesn't mean you are protected in the future. Viruses such as genital herpes and HIV remain in the body but can be managed through effective treatment.

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Opening Times

Opening times for Department of Sexual Health, Salisbury District Hospital (GUM)

  • Monday: 09:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday: 09:00 - 17:30
  • Wednesday: 09:00 - 16:00
  • Thursday: 09:00 - 17:30
  • Friday: 09:00 - 12:00
  • Saturday: CLOSED
  • Sunday: CLOSED

For walk in times at the Department of Sexual Health, click on the view clinic button below.

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