About the Service FAQs

Why should I get tested?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Many do not have symptoms yet can lead to future health problems. To find out more about different STIs visit our About STIs page.

Which areas offer free postal testing through Sexual Health London?

SHL offers sexual health testing across London however the following areas are excluded: Hillingdon, Hounslow, Sutton, Croydon, Greenwich, and Barking and Dagenham.

I think I may have put myself at risk, should I get a test right away?

If you believe you may be at risk it is advised that you get tested as soon as possible. All of the infections we test for have different window periods (the time from exposure to the point at which an accurate result can be achieved). Our tests are highly accurate after the following window periods:

  • Chlamydia: from 2 weeks
  • Gonorrhoea: from 2 weeks
  • HIV: from 4 weeks
  • Syphilis: from 3 months
  • Hepatitis B: from 3 months
  • Hepatitis C: from 3 months

What tests will I be offered?

The SHL service will offer testing based on your responses to questions during the triage process. All individuals eligible for the service will be offered a full GUM screen (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis). Some higher risk individuals may be offered wider testing that can include Hepatitis B and C testing.

How long do tests take to complete?

We endeavour to complete your tests as soon as possible. Most samples received in the laboratory are processed and tested within 48-72 hours of receipt.

What if I don’t have a smart phone?

The SHL service can be used without a smartphone. The website can be access via a mobile device (with a web browser), computer or tablet and any text messages can be delivered to a traditional handset.

How secure is the shl.uk website?

All patient data is stored on secure infrastructure and we adhere to all information governance, data protection and GDPR requirements for a service of this nature.

Will my results or details be shared with anyone else?

  • Your results and details will only ever be used for the purpose of delivering the SHL service. Information collected by us as part of the test request process will be accessible along with your results to the following parties:
  • Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust (CWFT) – As the clinical service partner for the London Sexual Health e-service, CWFT performs all patient management for the service and will have access to patient records.
  • Lloyds Online Doctor (Expert Health Limited) – as the provider of postal treatment for the London Sexual Health e-service, Lloyds Online Doctor will only have access to your details should you opt into the postal treatment route where offered.
  • London NHS Trusts – NHS Trusts based in London that are partnered with the London Sexual Health e-service. These trusts are only able to access records where they have or have been provided with multiple patient identifiers. Access is required by the trust to review the record and confirm your details should you attend or engage with a trust’s physical services.

If I collect blood under the 400 line is that enough?

We require at least 400µl of blood sample to be able to process and test your sample. Any less and we cannot guarantee the sample can be tested. For kits that include tests for HIV, syphilis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C we require 600µl of blood (600 line on the blood tube).