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Sexual health adviser

Sexual health advisers provide information, advice and counselling about sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £26,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need either:

  • experience in nursing, health visiting, social work or counselling
  • a degree in public health, or a related subject if you also have relevant experience in a healthcare setting

You can gain relevant skills and experience by choosing study options and arranging work placements related to sexual health whilst training to become a nurse or social worker.

If you’re a qualified nurse, you could prepare for this work by taking the sexual health advising options within a Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Programme.

You’ll also need:

  • recognised counselling training, skills and practice
  • knowledge of STIs, HIV and related sexual health issues through a recognised course
  • competence in health education and promotion
You can find more information about useful courses in sexual health from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH).

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • tact, empathy and a non-judgemental approach to care
  • good organisational and time management skills
  • the ability to network with a range of organisations
  • project management skills
  • good research and analytical skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll work with individuals and groups affected by sexual health issues in general and STIs (including HIV) in particular. 

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • advising patients on precautions to take with current partners
  • tracing and contacting previous partners who may have been exposed to the STI
  • promoting good sexual health practices
  • counselling patients
  • teaching and training
  • carrying out research
  • compiling local statistics

4. Salary

Starter: £26,000 to £30,000

Experienced: £31,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000 or over

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

In a full-time job in the NHS, you’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week.

You’ll usually be based in a genito-urinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic. There may be some outreach work involved.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior sexual health adviser, or a sexual health lead or management role.

There may also be opportunities to move into a public health project management role (specialising in sexual health) within local government.

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Last updated: 21 December 2016