Sexual health checks
A sexual health check-up is an opportunity for you to discuss any sexual health concerns you may have, including concerns about STIs.
If you are sexually active having a regular sexual health check-up is a great idea. You don't need to have physical symptoms to undergo a sexual health check-up.
A sexual health clinic is one of the most confidential places you can visit. It's also free and totally non-judgmental. What's more, your medical records can never be passed on to your doctor. All you have to do for a test is turn up, and wait your turn. And there is no need to be embarrased - the doctor deals with this sort of stuff all the time.
What will a check-up involve?
Generally, a sexual health check-up will involve:
1. A discussion with you about your sexual history
These are standard questions that the doctor will ask everyone. They might be embarrassing but it’s important you answer them as truthfully as you can as it will help the doctor to work out your sexual health needs. Questions may include asking you how many people you’ve slept with, how regular your period is, whether you’ve had unprotected sex etc.
2. A physical examination and/or test
Physical examinations can be embarrassing but they are really important for the doctor to work out just how health your sexual health is. A physical examination might involve:
- Examining your genitals;
- Taking a swab (taking a sample with a long cotton bud) from the cervix, vagina or rectum, tip of the penis or back of the throat;
- Carrying out a simple blood test; and/or
- Taking a urine sample (you just have to pee into a container and bring it back).
Remember you can say no to having any of these tests or have them at your next visit. Your doctor may recommend tests if he/she believes there's a chance you have an STI.
If tests are taken, then it is important that you return to your doctor for follow up. For some tests they can often give you some results on the same day. Sometimes you may be able to get the results by phoning but for some STIs, such as HIV, your doctor will require you to attend in person.
Remember to always go back for your results if asked to do so and finish any course of medication you're given.
Plus, make sure both you and your partner are treated and cleared before you have sex again because if only you are treated and your partner has an infection and isn’t treated, you could get another infection.