What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic

Visiting a Sexual Health Clinic

It can be scary or embarrassing attending a sexual health clinic, especially for the first time. But, remember – you’re looking after your health, and the health of your current or future sexual partner/s. That’s important & nothing to be ashamed of. Tres bien!

Where do I go to get an STI Test?

You can go to your family doctor, your GP, as these tests are pretty routine, and they are well equipped to provide the service. Many people don’t feel comfortable seeing their regular GP, so you could find a second GP for sexual health stuff, or:

Attend a sexual health clinic! The Nurses & Doctors there are the specialists in managing things like sexually transmissible infections (STIs), and blood-borne infections (things like HIV and Hepatitis). Unless you have a good bulk-billing GP, the benefit of sexual health clinics is – the are FREE. Yep, not a cent. Gratis!

When shall I get an STI Test?

The general recommendation is once per year, as a routine check-up, for anyone that’s sexually active. If you have more sexual partners and/or are having sex without using barriers (e.g. Condoms & Dams), then it might be recommended that you get tested more frequently, just to make sure you’re all good.

Generally, you don’t need to be tested more frequently than every 3 months, so if you have a very active sex life with lots of partners, make it part of your self-care routine.

If you don’t have more than one sexual partner, and you’re both monogamous, you could hold off getting regular STI checks and just get them between each new sexual partner. That said, the tests are simple and don’t cost much, so it could be worth an occasional test when you visit the GP.


"believe me they've heard and seen it all"


What will they do in an STI test?

In a clinic, the practitioner will ask you a bunch of questions to assess what tests need to be done, and what recommendations they need to give you (a type of sexual health risk assessment). Some of these questions might seem really intimate, but try to be honest.

Believe me, they’ve heard it all, and the answers will help them give you the most thorough and appropriate care.

Next – They will take some samples.

These days, all these tests (except a blood test) can be self-collected - you go to the bathroom and do it yourself. Don’t worry, they’ll tell you what you need to do.

These tests check for Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea. Sometimes, they may also decide to test for other STIs, but these two are the most common.

  • If you have a vagina, they will give you a swab to put inside your vagina to test for STIs. This is the most accurate but, if you don’t want to do this, you can do a urine test instead.
  • If you have a penis, they will give you a small urine jar to pee into.
  • If you have anal sex, they may offer you a swab to put in your bum too.

Some people from certain populations get offered throat swabs too (like men who have sex with men & sex workers), based on population risk for STIs & number of sexual partners. If you don’t exactly fit the profile, but still want a throat swab, it’s worth speaking with the practitioner about this too.

Then, you’ll get a blood test.

Basic blood tests will be for HIV & Syphilis. Depending on your exposure risks & other factors, they may also recommend testing for Hepatitis. The practitioner or pathology collector will do this for you (usually just one tube).

It’s possible to get more frequent swabs/urine, and just do the blood test once or twice per year given some people just hate needles. This depends on how many sexual partners you have, and how often you use condoms, but it’s worth discussing options while you’re there.

…and that’s it. Well done!

They’ll usually get in contact to let you know if you had a positive test result & need to come back in for treatment. Assuming it all comes back clear, you can go forth and enjoy! Tune in to our next article on what if I have STI symptoms.

It can be scary or embarrassing attending a sexual health clinic, especially for the first time. But, remember – you’re looking after your health, and the health of your current or future sexual partner/s. That’s important & nothing to be ashamed of. Tres bien!

Where do I go to get an STI Test?

You can go to your family doctor, your GP, as these tests are pretty routine, and they are well equipped to provide the service. Many people don’t feel comfortable seeing their regular GP, so you could find a second GP for sexual health stuff, or:

Attend a sexual health clinic! The Nurses & Doctors there are the specialists in managing things like sexually transmissible infections (STIs), and blood-borne infections (things like HIV and Hepatitis). Unless you have a good bulk-billing GP, the benefit of sexual health clinics is – the are FREE. Yep, not a cent. Gratis!

When shall I get an STI Test?

The general recommendation is once per year, as a routine check-up, for anyone that’s sexually active. If you have more sexual partners and/or are having sex without using barriers (e.g. Condoms & Dams), then it might be recommended that you get tested more frequently, just to make sure you’re all good.

Generally, you don’t need to be tested more frequently than every 3 months, so if you have a very active sex life with lots of partners, make it part of your self-care routine.

If you don’t have more than one sexual partner, and you’re both monogamous, you could hold off getting regular STI checks and just get them between each new sexual partner. That said, the tests are simple and don’t cost much, so it could be worth an occasional test when you visit the GP.


"believe me they've heard and seen it all"


What will they do in an STI test?

In a clinic, the practitioner will ask you a bunch of questions to assess what tests need to be done, and what recommendations they need to give you (a type of sexual health risk assessment). Some of these questions might seem really intimate, but try to be honest.

Believe me, they’ve heard it all, and the answers will help them give you the most thorough and appropriate care.

Next – They will take some samples.

These days, all these tests (except a blood test) can be self-collected - you go to the bathroom and do it yourself. Don’t worry, they’ll tell you what you need to do.

These tests check for Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea. Sometimes, they may also decide to test for other STIs, but these two are the most common.

  • If you have a vagina, they will give you a swab to put inside your vagina to test for STIs. This is the most accurate but, if you don’t want to do this, you can do a urine test instead.
  • If you have a penis, they will give you a small urine jar to pee into.
  • If you have anal sex, they may offer you a swab to put in your bum too.

Some people from certain populations get offered throat swabs too (like men who have sex with men & sex workers), based on population risk for STIs & number of sexual partners. If you don’t exactly fit the profile, but still want a throat swab, it’s worth speaking with the practitioner about this too.

Then, you’ll get a blood test.

Basic blood tests will be for HIV & Syphilis. Depending on your exposure risks & other factors, they may also recommend testing for Hepatitis. The practitioner or pathology collector will do this for you (usually just one tube).

It’s possible to get more frequent swabs/urine, and just do the blood test once or twice per year given some people just hate needles. This depends on how many sexual partners you have, and how often you use condoms, but it’s worth discussing options while you’re there.

…and that’s it. Well done!

They’ll usually get in contact to let you know if you had a positive test result & need to come back in for treatment. Assuming it all comes back clear, you can go forth and enjoy! Tune in to our next article on what if I have STI symptoms.

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