Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs)

We all have the right to enjoy healthy sexual relationships. Having the right information about sexuality and sexual health can help you to have safe, satisfying relationships. Safe sex means more than just avoiding pregnancy - BBVs can be passed on by sexual contact and other means which can all be tested for at the sexual health clinic. Find out more information below:

The Sexual Health and Wellbeing Clinic is open on:

Mondays from 6.30pm-8.30pm at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

To make or cancel an appointment drop in at the clinic or phone 01595 74 3000 DURING CLINIC TIMES (Monday 6:30-8:30) and ask to be put through to the Sexual Health Clinic.

please note: you can only speak to someone and make appointments during clinic times, do not call at any other time. For more information on emergency contraception see below.

Sexual Health

In Shetland we have similar sexual health issues to the rest of Scotland. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common in Shetland and, like the rest of Scotland, CHlamydia is the most common.

We also see people with ‘blood borne viruses’ including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C which can be passed on through sexual contact or they can also be passed on in other ways. Unsterile medical or piercing/tattoo equipment is one way these viruses can be spread. Ensure you check the cleanliness of the equipment and the premises before you agree to the use of needles.

Communication & Consent

Communication and respect for each other are really important in any relationship. Being able to talk to your partner about your feelings, sex, what you like and what you don’t like is a big part of a healthy relationship. This might take some practice – some people feel shy or embarrassed to talk about their relationship, sexuality and sexual health. Relate have some good advice about improving communication.

Remember we all have the right to say 'no' - this doesn't matter what kind of relationship you are in, what you are saying 'no' to, or whether you have said 'yes' in the past. This is normally called "Consent". The "age of consent" is the age at which people can legally agree to have sex - this is 16 in Scotland.

Consent is still very important when you are over 16 - just because someone can legally have sex does not mean they are ready to, want to, or are able to give consent - for example if they have been drinking, taking drugs, or are frightened of what might happen if they say no. Consent is about being confident and able to say no to your partner if you want to, and making sure that your partner is comfortable with what is happening - it is ok to say no.


Sexual health issues affect all genders and sexualities. It is normal to want to find out about yourself and your sexuality. This might make you question your sexuality and can be confusing.

These feelings are often explored as you are growing up or in your teens, but for some people this will happen later. For more information for teens and young people visit LGBT Youth, Healthy Respect, or The Lowdown. LGBT Health and NHS Choices have more health related information for the LGBTQ+ community of all ages.

Local services in Shetland

Sexual Health and Wellbeing Clinic

The Sexual Health and Wellbeing Clinic is open on Mondays from 6.30pm-8.30pm at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

To make or cancel an appointment drop in at the clinic or phone 01595 74 3000 during clinic times and ask to be put through to the Sexual Health Clinic.

Please note  - if you are waiting for test results, you will only be contacted if you have a positive result.         

Anyone can attend the clinic for:

  • Information and advice
  • Screening, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Free condoms
  • Partner notification
  • HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C testing (these are three main types of BBV or Bood Borne Virus)
  • Emergency contraception (see below for other places you can access)

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception (the morning after pill or a coil) can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex and sometimes even after that, to prevent unplanned pregnancy. 

However, it is most effective when used within the first 24 hours after sex.

The rate of pregnancy in teenage (aged 13-15) girls is very low in Shetland - but remember it is not just teenagers who have unplanned pregnancies. 

Available free of charge from:

  • Community Pharmacies - Market Cross, Freefield, Boots, Brae and Scalloway
  • Accident and Emergency, Gilbert Bain Hospital - open 24/7
  • GP surgeries - any GP, not just your own
  • The Sexual Health and Wellbeing Clinic
  • GP Out-of-hours Clinic, Gilbert Bain Hospital 10am - 12 noon every Saturday - walk-in clinic

Staff in the services listed above will respect your right to confidential treatment at all times, including if you are under 16 years of age. However, if a healthcare worker is made aware of circumstances where a young person, under 16 years of age, may be in danger from themselves or others, they have to report this to the Social Work Department and/or Police.  You will be informed if this has to happen.


Condoms help to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, and also unwanted pregnancy.

Free condoms and lube are available from the following places (you can usually find them in the toilets).

  • GP surgeries
  • A&E
  • Sexual health and wellbeing clinic
  • Health Improvement Department (on request)

(You can also buy condoms from community pharmacies and the supermarkets, or by mail order)