A Trip to the Sexual Health Clinic can be a daunting experience for some, but it’s an absolute necessity to ensure that both yourself and your sexual partners keep in good health.
PrideWest looked into what you can expect to happen during a visit to your local Sexual Health ClinicEvery centre is different. Always ring in advance to check their opening times and to see whether you need and appointment or not, you can find the details of local centres below.
Don’t be scared or embarrassed about going to a GUM clinic. An STI is an illness like any other. You’re looking after your body by going for a check-up.
What to expect
You will have to let a doctor or nurse examine your penis. They may ask you to provide a urine sample, a blood test or take a cotton wool swab from the end of your penis for testing. All STI tests are painless.
You may have to have an internal examination. If it’s a male doctor there will always be a female nurse present. If you’d rather not have a male doctor you can ask for a female doctor or nurse. All STI tests are painless.
Can you trust them?
Totally. Even if you are under 16 you have the same right to confidentiality as everyone else. When you arrive at reception they’ll ask for your name, date of birth, address and the name of your GP.
You don’t even have to give your real name and your GP is only contacted with your permission and you can tick a box to say no. Nothing will be sent to your home unless you give permission. When you see the doctor, be honest about your sexual history as this will help them treat you – remember they are there to help not judge
What happens next ?
With some tests, you can get the results (and treatment, if you need it) on the same day. For others, you might have to wait for a week or two. If this is the case, the clinic will check how you would prefer to receive your results.
If you have tests and the results aren’t available during your visit, the clinic will need to contact you later, so give them the correct contact details. They will check how you want to receive your results. They can usually be given to you over the phone, in a text or in an unmarked letter.
If you test positive for an STI, you will be asked to go back to the clinic to talk about your results and your treatment. Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics. Some infections, such as HIV, have no cure, but there are treatments available. The clinic can advise you on these and can put you in touch with a counsellor.