Our main aim is to raise awareness and help prevent and treat Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) at the highest standard. We offer free testing and treatment for all STIs including HIV infection and offer rapid HIV testing. As well as this we recognise the importance of Sexual Health in the widest sense and help patients with a wide variety of sexually associated conditions. As part of this we also offer a full range of contraception at the Heartlands site. We also offer a range of (mostly oral) contraception at the Drake Unit but this is does not include IUS (coils) and implants. We can give you information about these but you will either need to book an appointment at Heartlands hospital or alternatively go the Birmingham Brook clinic (if you are less than 25 years old) with whom we work with closely. Otherwise you will need to go to your GP or a family planning service see www.brash.nhs.uk and www.fpa.org.uk .
We also offer clinics for a variety of other conditions including physical sexual difficulties (see our other clinics). Although we do deal with the psychological difficulties associated with these we do not offer relationship counselling when this is the main problem see www.relate.org.uk
Sexual health services have been offered on the Heartlands hospital site since Hawthorn house opened on World AIDS day (1st December) 1992. Previously patients with HIV had been cared for in the department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine for many years. Hawthorn house was the Birmingham’s second Genito-Urinary Medicine service and before it opened the only clinic was at Ward 19 behind the car park at the old Birmingham General hospital. This moved nearby to the current site of the Whittall St clinic in 1991. In 1993 Hawthorn house was extended to house what was then the department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Diseases and the HIV outpatient department.
When Hawthorn house opened it was with the express intention of not following the stigmatised patterns of previous services. We have therefore always seen patients in Uni-sex waiting rooms. We have also been at the forefront of developing services for other related conditions and working with other related services. Dr White has run clinics for women with painful intercourse, problem vaginal discharge, vaginal candidiasis and genital skin problems since we opened. He has recently been joined in these by Dr Robertson.
As part of our policy to improve accessibility to STI testing, in a discreet location we converted the front corridor at the Birmingham Chest clinic and opened the Drake Unit in November 2005. We have also offered comprehensive STI screening at the Brook clinic since April 2006. More recently have been offering testing including rapid HIV testing at the Terence Higgins trust near the Birmingham hippodrome.