STI testing and preventative treatment for HIV

Phoning the sexual assault self-referral phone service

You can phone the sexual assault self-referral phone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 148 88 88. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

As part of the forensic medical examination (FME) you’ll be offered an assessment to ensure that your immediate healthcare needs are met. This may include testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and arranging any necessary appointments at your local sexual health service.

Most infections take a few weeks to show up in a test. The healthcare professional at the sexual assault response co-ordination service (SARCS) that you speak to will explain what further testing may need to take place, and answer any questions you may have.

Preventing HIV

If you’re assessed by a healthcare professional as being at risk of HIV transmission they will talk to you about taking Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) medication.

PEP is a form of emergency HIV medication taken by someone who does not have HIV but who has, or may have been, very recently exposed to HIV.

PEP should be taken as soon as possible, but it can be taken up to 72 hours after exposure. The earlier it is taken the more effective it is.

PEP is also available from sexual health services or, out of hours, from A&E.

How to access treatment

If you’re attending an appointment at a SARCS a healthcare professional will assess your risks and offer any appropriate treatment.

If you’re worried about being at risk of an STI but choose not to contact the sexual assault self-referral phone service, you can attend your local sexual health service or your GP to be assessed and offered appropriate treatment.

Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) medication can be taken up to 72 hours after exposure. If you’re concerned that you are at risk of HIV transmission and don’t want to contact the sexual assault self-referral phone service, you should attend your local A&E within 72 hours.

Last updated:
01 April 2022