Skip to main content

If I use a sexual health service will they tell my parents?

Find out about confidential sexual health services, including contraception, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and advice on unplanned pregnancy, even if you're under 16 years old.

Sexual health services (contraception and pregnancy advice, or tests for STIs, including HIV) are free and confidential.

If you're 13 to 16, you have the same rights to confidentiality as an adult. The doctor, nurse or pharmacist will not tell your parents, or anyone else, as long as they believe that you fully understand the information and decisions involved.

They'll encourage you to consider telling your parents or carers, but they will not make you.

Even if the doctor, nurse or pharmacist feels that you're not mature enough to make a decision yourself, the consultation will still be confidential. They will not tell anyone that you saw them, or anything about what you said.

The only time a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe there is a risk to your safety or welfare, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.

The situation is different for people under 13, because the law says that people of this age cannot consent (say yes) to sexual activity. If you're under 13, doctors, nurses and health workers might feel it's in your best interests to involve other people, such as a social worker.

What you can get from sexual health services

If the healthcare worker feels that you understand the information and can make your own decision, you can get advice on the following:

Help and advice on sexual health

For more information about sexual health services for young people, contact:

  • Brook – the young people's sexual health charity for under-25s
  • FPA – provides information about contraception, STIs, pregnancy choices, abortion and planning a pregnancy
  • National Sexual Health Helpline on 0300 123 7123 – a confidential helpline (open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday)

Page last reviewed: 5 September 2022
Next review due: 5 September 2025