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Sexual health check ups

The check-up and consultation

Practice varies between clinics but you can usually expect the following during a visit:

  • A routine check-up
  • A conversation about concerns or symptoms
  • The examination
  • Swabs
  • Blood tests
  • Initial test results
  • Treatment
  • Other test results
  • At the end

Routine check-ups
If you are going for a regular check-up with no concerns or symptoms (that you know of) you will be asked for some or all of the following:

  • Complete a short questionnaire
  • Pee in a pot
  • Swabs from bum and/ or throat depending on the sex you've had (for gonorrhoea, chlamydia)
  • Bloods tests for syphilis, HIV and viral Hepatitis

Checkups with concerns or symptoms
You will be seen by a clinician (a nurse or doctor) who will find out about your reason for attending the clinic

  • You will be called by name or number and shown to a consulting room and while the consultation is taking place the door should be closed
  • Clinicians should introduce themselves (sometimes there is a student present and you should be asked whether this is OK. If you’d rather see the clinician alone – say so, particularly if it’s your first time at the clinic or if you are feeling in any way nervous)
  • You will be asked about any problems or concerns you might have. Explain in your own words what seems to be the matter and describe any symptoms

You may also be asked about these sorts of questions...

  • How many people you’ve had sex with recently and their sex
  • Whether your partners were casual, known to you or regular
  • The kind of sex you’ve had and whether you used condoms (or not)
  • Whether you’ve had STIs before
  • If you have been vaccinated for hepatitis in the past (as you may need a booster)
  • Your alcohol intake and recreational drug use
  • General health problems are taking medication or have allergies

Difficult and embarrassing though they might be, be truthful, and be as specific as possible. If you hide anything (eg: say you always use condoms when in fact you don’t) or are economical with the truth, you may be not be tested for something you have.

The examination
Depending on why you are attending you will be examined, this is likely to include:

  • the cock and balls
  • the throat and the glands in your throat
  • arsehole
  • the skin.

You will need to provide samples to find out whether you have a sexually transmitted infection.

Swabs can be used to take samples from:

  • your pee hole
  • your throat
  • your arsehole
  • you may also be asked for a urine sample

These are used to test for gonorrhoea, chlamydia, pus in the rectum, or penis (proctitis or NSU).

Blood tests
You will then be asked to give a blood sample for syphilis, HIV and Hepatitis.

Initial test results
Some of the test results will be available during your visit so after you have been examined and provided the necessary samples, you are likely to be returned to the waiting area for a short time before seeing the nurse or doctor again.

Depending on the diagnosis you may be given a course of treatment (usually antibiotics)

Other test results
The rest of your results will take a week or so and you will have to go back to get them and most clinics communicate your results by text or telephone, however, you may be asked to attend for your results or review.

At the end
Thoughtful clinicians will close your session by checking that everything is OK and give you an opportunity to ask any other questions.

Clinics and support | LGBT Hero
Visiting a STI clinic | NHS

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