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Doing the SH:24 blood test

These top tips are from people who have completed the test kit in the past.

To help you prepare:

  • Relax and be patient and if you’re nervous, ask someone to help you (it can take longer for some people than others)
  • Watch the instruction video and read the instruction leaflet (we know people find the test easier to complete after watching the video)
  • Tie long hair back and take off any scarves or jewellery that could get in your way
  • Lay the test kit items and your two tissues on a clean, flat surface below your waist.

To help blood flow:

  • Take a hot shower or bath, or hold your hand under warm water for a few minutes, (when your hands are warm, blood flows easier)
  • Stay standing and keep your arm straight with your hand below your waist
  • Aim for the middle of the tip of your finger, not too close to your fingernail
  • Push lancet down hard against your finger
  • Wipe the first dot of blood away with a clean tissue to stop the blood congealing
  • If your finger dries up, wait a while, warm up your hand, use another finger and make sure you press the lancet down hard against your finger.

Confidentiality

If you’re under 18

If you’re under 18 and want to get tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI), SH:24 won’t tell your parents or guardian. We won’t share your results or any information about your treatment, as long as we believe that you fully understand the information you’re given, and the decisions you’re making.

If you’re over 18

If you are over 18, but are worried about people finding out that you have been tested, you can still rely on us for complete confidence.

Partner notification

SH:24 have joined up with SXT to offer anonymous partner notification by text message.

If you test positive for an STI it’s important that you contact your recent sexual partner(s) so they can get tested too – for the sake of their health and those who they have sexual relations with in the future. SXT’s partner notification tool anonymously informs your recent sexual partners that they should take an STI test. If you test with SH:24 and return a positive STI result, SXT will send you a text message and offer you the opportunity to contact your recent sexual partners to let them know that they should get tested. Partner notification is completely anonymous - meaning your recent partners will not know who raised the notification. Even if you are comfortable with telling your partner(s) face to face it’s recommended that you use the SXT tool to help your partner access the correct testing and treatment at the clinic.

How it works

  • 1. If you test positive for an STI, you will receive a text message from SH:24 with details about the infection and then a separate text message with a link to SXT’s secure site. Once you click on the link in the message you will be offered the option to inform one or more of your sexual partners by text message or email. Your mobile number is not stored on the SXT database.
  • 2. On entering your partners email or mobile number you will see the message they will receive - you will also be offered the opportunity to personalise the message.
  • 3. On submitting, your partner(s) will immediately receive an anonymous message from SXT recommending that they get tested – it will include a code which they can present at their local Sexual Health Clinic to fast track their testing. Your partners mobile number or email address is deleted from the SXT database once the message has been sent.

How else can we help?

If you are worried about a situation where you have felt unsure about having sex, read on to find out where you can get more support.

Do you feel pressured into sex?

Nobody should be forced to have sex if they don’t want to. If you don’t want to have sex, even with a regular partner, you have the right to say no.

National services

Ask Brook

Text and webchat service giving sexual health information, support and signposting for people under 25 in the UK.

Childline

Confidential service for people up to the age of 19. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything.

Have you been offered payment for sex?

Being paid for sex doesn’t just mean being given money, it could be something like gifts, drugs, alcohol or protection in exchange for sex.

National services

Ask Brook

Text and webchat service giving sexual health information, support and signposting for people under 25 in the UK.

Childline

Confidential service for people up to the age of 19. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything.

Do you use alcohol or drugs before sex?

Drugs and alcohol can lead you (or your partner) to do things that you might not have done otherwise, or that you might not want to do. You might find yourself in a situation that is beyond your control, or where you are unable to make clear decisions about sex.

National services

Talk to Frank

Friendly and confidential drug advice.

Do you feel down or depressed?

Many young people suffer from feeling down or depressed. This can make it harder to make safe decisions about sex.

National services

Young Minds

Charity committed to improving the emotional well-being and mental health of children and young people.

Childline

Confidential service for people up to the age of 19. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything.

National Self Harm Network

Forum providing crisis support, information and resources, advice, discussions and distractions. It is closely monitored and available 24/7.

Papyrus

Exists to give young people hope and to prevent young suicide.