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Where can I get tested for an STI?
If you think that might have contracted an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) or an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), or that you have one then it is best that you get tested at your local sexual health clinic. Here you can speak to a sexual health nurse about your symptoms and experiences; they’ll be able to test you for any infections and offer any other advice and support that you may need. Sexual health clinics specialise in testing and treating STIs, you can get tested for an array of infections, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, in complete confidentiality.
Who can use a sexual health clinic?
Anyone can go to a sexual health clinic and use the services on offer, no matter how old you are. Some clinics offer sessions for specific groups of people, for example young people, lesbians and gay men. To find your local sexual health clinic use the NHS search tool.
Is there a sexual health clinic near me?
To find a testing centre near you enter your post code or town into the NHS search tool. This will show you a list of clinics near you, the services they offer, their opening times and a contact telephone number. Sexual health clinics offer both appointments which you can book in advance and walk-in sessions, allowing you to choose an option that is more convenient for you. But it is best to contact the clinic so that you can check the opening times and when their drop-in sessions are. Some clinics will also only offer their services to people of a certain age or only offer their services to men.
What is a GUM clinic?
A genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic is exactly the same as a sexual health clinic, they both specialise in sexual health. The STD clinic can offer testing and treatment for STIs and STDs, as well as a range of advice and information about sexual health. You can also get free condoms, pregnancies tests and contraception. Please remember that not all clinics offer the same services and it is best to check your local clinic to make sure they can offer you the advice and services you need before you go.
Depending on the type of test you have had and what you have been tested for, you can get your test results the same day. However for some tests you will have to wait a week or two for your results. It is up to you how you receive your tests results and the clinic will ask you how you would like to be contacted.
Many STIs are asymptotic, meaning that they do not have any symptoms. However if symptoms do appear this can be up to a few months after you initially caught the infection. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to;
- Pain when urinating
- Itching and irritation around the genitals
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain during sex
- Pain after sex
- Vaginal discharge
- Discharge from the tip of the penis
Using a condom during sexual intercourse or activity is an effective method of protection. However the most effective way of not catching and STI is to refrain from all sexual activity or have a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner have both tested clear of any STIs.