Based on what you tell them, the practitioner might recommend an examination -
Regardless of what genitals you have, they may need to have a look at them.
They will check your skin & groin area for any signs of infection. They will be looking for any bumps, sores, pain or broken skin, or any visible discharge.
If you have a vagina, they may need to look inside. They do this with a speculum, which they insert (well-lubricated, of course) into your vagina to open it. They look for signs of infection on your cervix & the skin inside your vagina and, while they are there, they will do some swabs.
Pro Tip: If you’re really uncomfortable with this procedure- to make it easier, you can ask to insert the speculum yourself.
If you have a penis, they will check your testes for pain & bumps, and look for any discharge (pus) coming out of your urethra.
If you have symptoms in your bum, they may also want to check inside. This is done with a (well-lubed) proctoscope, which is like a clear tube that the practitioner will use to look at the skin inside your bum and take a swab.
If the practitioner is assessing your symptoms, they may take a few different swabs and test for some other things, depending on what they see when they examine you. Some sexual health clinics also have microscopes and can look at samples on the spot. The benefit of this is they can treat you straight away, if it looks like you have an STI.
However, you still need to wait for formal results from the samples they send to the lab – you may have more than one STI!
More than one!? Sacre bleu!
So, wait until they give you the all-clear (usually about 7 days), before you go out and have sex again.