Sexual Health Clinics | There's no shame!


If you’re sexually active, then you should have been to a GUM clinic at least once. But not many people bother going. Why? Embarrassment seems to be the biggest reason. But there really is nothing to be ashamed of! And it’s important to get everything checked out! We’re a society that has more and more casual sex and so sexual health is important now more than ever!

Often GUM clinics have either walk in sessions or appointment based sessions to accommodate everyone. You have to fill in a short form before you go through and see the nurse. They will go through a list of even more questions with you that are more in depth and more based on your recent sex life. It’s important to be really honest, they aren’t there to judge. Expect the questions to be extremely personal, ranging from the last time you had sexual contact to whether you’ve participated in anal sex or sniffed drugs in the past few months.

If you’ve gone to the clinic with a certain concern, the nurse will explore that first and they will always offer you a full sexual health screening. If you’ve just gone in for get checked over they will just check everything they think necessary based on the answer to the questions.

Bacterial infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea are detected using a vaginal swab or urine sample. Urine samples should be collected mid-stream and a decent amount should be given. Vaginal swabs are now taken by the patient themselves as they’ve found this is more accurate. You simply put the swab in the lower section of the vaginal tunnel and move the swab around for 10-15 seconds. Then place the swab in the bottle and the end snaps off.

Blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis are detected by taking and testing a blood sample. A lot of people are put off by this as they don’t like having bloods taken. But these viruses are the ones that cause the most health concerns and therefore important to be detected as soon as possible. Having your blood taken only takes a few seconds and is like a sharp scratch when the needle goes in and that’s it. They only need one vial to test for all of the above as well so it’s worth doing. The worst you’ll be left with is a bruise.

Infections such as genital warts, caused by the HPV virus that causes bacterial vaginosis and cervical cancer, are detected when there are bumps on the genital area. If you suspect you have genital warts then the nurse will ask to examine the area. This is not cause to panic! They are all qualified and have seen genitalia before! If they confirm that what you have is genital warts, then they will use a form of nitrogen to freeze them off. It’s not as painful as it looks or sounds. It’s kind of like getting a tattoo.

GUM clinics really aren’t scary or a place to be ashamed of! So, if you’ve never been or haven’t been in a while then I challenge you to go get checked out!

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