Health clinics for adolescents (HFU)
Health clinics for adolescents (HFU) are a free service for young people aged between 12 and 20 years. The health clinics for adolescents offer help and advice from public health nurses, doctors and in some cases midwives and psychologists. Employees of the school health service are covered by a duty of confidentiality.
What are health clinics for adolescents?
At a health clinic for adolescents, you can ask any questions you may have and talk about any issues you are wondering about. You can get advice and guidance concerning issues such as:
- body and health
- sexual orientation and gender identity
- sex and cohabitation
- sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- problems with friends or family
- difficult thoughts
- feelings and worries
You can also contact the health clinic if you have a friend who is in need of help or guidance. The aim of health clinics for adolescents is to promote health and improve young people's health literacy.
No appointment necessary
You do not need to book an appointment to talk to a public health nurse or other healthcare professional at a health clinic for adolescents. All you have to do is turn up. You do not need permission from your parents to contact a health clinic for adolescents.
Health clinics for adolescents are open in the afternoon, so you do not have to take time off school or work to visit a clinic.
Find your local health clinic
To find your nearest health clinic, visit your municipality's website for more information. On the website, you will find information about opening hours and age limits. Many health clinics offer services right up to the age of 24.
Duty of confidentiality
Public health nurses, doctors, midwives and psychologists are all subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. This means they will not be allowed to reveal to anyone else what you talk to them about. If you have spoken to a health professional, they will not be able to disclose to anyone else why you spoke to them or what you talked about.
There are certain exceptions to this rule. Health professionals sometimes need to disclose information about you, e.g. to the police or the child welfare services, if there is a risk that you may harm yourself or others, or if it is clear that you are having problems at home.
Adolescents between 12 and 16 years of age
If you are between 12 and 16 years of age, you can ask for your parents not to be informed. Nevertheless, it is the healthcare professional who will make this decision in these cases.
Adolescents over 16 years of age
If you are over 16, information about you will not be shared with your parents without your permission. Giving such permission is known as giving consent.
The healthcare professional will sometimes be able to disclose information to your parents even when you are over 16, if they need the information in order to fulfil their parental responsibilities. In such cases, you will be informed that the healthcare professional will contact your parents.
Puberty and sexual health
At a health clinic for adolescents, you can get advice and guidance on:
- testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- sexual challenges such as erectile dysfunction, dry vagina, etc.
- gender identify and sexual orientation
If you think you may be pregnant, you can have a free pregnancy test at the health clinic. You will be asked to go to the toilet in order to give a urine sample (pee in a cup). The urine sample will be used to confirm whether or not you are pregnant.
Home tests are as reliable as those used by the health clinics. If you have tested positive during a pregnancy test at home, please contact your health clinic for further advice and guidance. They will help you regardless of whether or not you wish to keep the foetus.
Free testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
If you are wondering whether you have contracted an STD, you can have a free test and examination at the health clinic. The type of test you should take and any treatment you receive will depend on the infection or disease you are tested for.
To determine the tests you should take and identify possible sources of infection, the public health nurse or doctor will ask you what type of sex you have had, whether you have any symptoms and who you had sex with.
Getting yourself tested is easy
It is easy and painless to get yourself tested for most sexually transmitted diseases. For girls, it is often enough to take a sample from the vagina using a swab similar to a cotton bud, while boys can give a urine sample in a cup. It may also be appropriate to take samples from the throat and the anus.
You can perform the test yourself in a toilet at the health clinic or you can ask a public health nurse or doctor to help you. The public health nurse or doctor will explain the procedure to you.
If you need to be tested for hepatitis, HIV or syphilis, the public health nurse or doctor will take a blood sample from you. If you are examined for scabies, cab lice and genital warts, the health nurse or doctor must examine your skin or lower abdomen to see whether you are infected.
Tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases at health clinics for adolescents are free of charge.
Contraception and condoms
You can contact a health clinic for adolescents if you need contraception. The public health nurse will explain the various types of contraceptives that are available, how they are used, and possible side effects. You decide which contraceptive is best for you.
The most reliable contraceptives are the ones that you do not have to remember to take every day, such as the contraceptive implant or spiral. You can also ask to switch contraceptive methods if you decide the one you chose first is unsuitable for you.
The types of contraceptives that are available are:
- combination oral contraceptives (contain the hormones oestrogen and progestin)
- progestin oral contraceptives (contain the hormone progestin)
- copper coil
- hormonal coil
- mini pills
- contraceptive plaster
- vaginal ring
- contraceptive injection
- contraceptive implant
If you have had unprotected sex or had a condom split during sexual intercourse, emergency contraception (the morning after pill) is also available, which should be taken as soon as possible after intercourse and within no more than 72 hours.
If you are a young woman aged between 16 and 22, you will automatically be entitled to free or discounted contraception (in Norwegian) at pharmacies.
Condoms and lubricants can be obtained free of charge at the health clinic or ordered free of charge here.
Mental health service
It is normal to struggle with difficult feelings and thoughts at times. It is common for people to sometimes feel sad, angry or afraid, but these thoughts and feelings will normally pass after a while. However, if they do not pass, it can be a good idea to talk to someone about it.
The sooner you get help, the better your chances of recovering. You can talk to a health professional at a health clinic for adolescents about what is bothering you. You can also talk to a health professional if a friend or someone you know is having a hard time. The public health nurse will explain to you what can be done next.
In some cases, a public health nurse may, with your consent, contact your GP, a psychologist or other health service who can help you.
At health clinics for adolescents, you can get advice and guidance on issues such as:
- stress, pressure and performance problems
- well-being and self-image
- sleeping problems
- eating disorders
- unhealthy exercise and exercise addiction
- suicidal thoughts
- substance abuse
- school absence or desire to leave school
If you are considering leaving school, the public health nurse can, in consultation with you, your school and the school health service, draw up a plan to enable you to complete your schooling.
Mental healthcare for children and adolescents
The sooner you get help, the sooner you will start to feel better. Contact the mental health service in your municipality, the school health service or your GP.
Problems at home
If you are finding life at home difficult, talk to a health professional at a health clinic for adolescents about it. You can also talk to a public health nurse if you have a friend or family member who is having a hard time.
A public health nurse can advise you on issues such as:
- arguments and quarrelling
- sibling rivalry and jealousy
- too much responsibility at home
- financial problems
- parents or family members who
- are excessively strict
- do not understand you
- do not support you
- have substance abuse problems
- have a mental or physical illness
- violence and abuse
- forced marriage and honour-based violence
- negative social control
- female genital mutilation
Health professionals are subject to a duty of confidentiality and cannot disclose what you have been talking about to anyone else, unless the situation represents a danger to you or someone else. In consultation with you, the health professional can then ask for help from other adults, e.g. a psychologist or the child welfare service. Together, they will be able to help you feel better.