What happens when I visit a clinic?
Please note the following may vary depending on which clinic you visit.
Upon arrival you will be greeted by one of the clinic’s receptionists. The receptionist will ask you to complete a registration form and a unique set of notes and clinic number will be created for you. You will then be asked to take a seat in the waiting room. The information in your notes will be held in the strictest confidence.
Most clinics will give you a form to indicate your main reason for attending, so that you can be directed to the correct person with minimum delay.
Who will you see?
You will be called using your first name by either a specialist nurse or a Doctor. During your consultation with them, you will be asked the reason for your visit including any worries or concerns you may have. They will ask if you have any symptoms, take a sexual history and examine you if necessary. The doctor will also arrange any tests that are required. Same sex doctors /nurses are available if you prefer. All patients having a genital examination have the option of a chaperone.
Nurses assist patients to prepare for the examination, explain what is going to happen, answer questions and give information on the tests and infections. The senior nurses are also trained to take sexual histories and examine patients. We also have health care support workers who may assist you during the examination and take blood samples.
Health Advisers / Clinical Nurse Specialists
If you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) you will be seen by a health adviser or a clinical nurse specialist.. They can give you more information about the infection and assist you in informing your partner(s).
A Health Advisers or Clinical Nurse Specialist will also see anyone who
- is worried about sexual health issues
- is aged under 16
- wants information and support on how to protect themselves sexually
- gives a history of having been sexually assaulted
Following assessment on-going counselling may be available for some patients
What tests will I have?
You will be routinely offered tests for STIs – genital tests for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea and blood tests for Syphilis & HIV.
Other tests may be indicated, such as for Non-Specific Urethritis, Candida (“Thrush”), Bacterial Vaginosis, Trichomonas or screening for Hepatitis. Some STIs, such as Genital Warts and Herpes, will be looked for during an examination.
For males: Most men only need to do a urine test along with the blood test but If there is a discharge a test will be taken from the tip of your penis. It is important that you do not pass urine for at least two hours prior to your visit. A blood test will also be taken as part of the standard screening process.
For females: In some circumstances if you have no symptoms you will have a routine from from your vulva, a urine test or a self-taken swab. Otherwise tests will be taken from the inside of the vagina and cervix (neck of womb) similar to having a smear test. A blood test will also be taken.
All women over 25 should have a cervical smear (cytology) done by their GP or family planning clinic every 3 years. We do not currently offer cervical smear tests in the GUM service - if you are over 25 and have not had a smear test you should attend your GP or a Family Planning Clinic (Reproductive Sexual Health).
How do I get my results?
If you have symptoms some results will be available before you leave the clinic.
Specimens are also sent to the laboratory to be processed and these results will be available after 7 - 14 days. You will be informed during your consultation how you will receive your results, this will either be by text message or by telephone on a pre-arranged day. If there is anything wrong with any of your tests, whether a positive diagnosis or a repeat test is required a nurse will contact you directly on the mobile phone number you have provided.
Any treatment required will be given to you at the end of your visit. All treatments from the clinic are free.
Sometimes you will need to come back to the clinic for further treatment or testing or a referral to one of our consultants in their specialist clinic.
Confidentiality - All information you give is strictly confidential.
Confidentiality is the right of an individual to have personal, identifiable medical information kept private. Your notes are kept within the clinic and are not accessible on any other NHS databases. All tests are sent to the laboratory with a number identifier only. No information will be given to anyone outside of this department without your consent.