What happens when you come to our sexual health clinic?

Our staff are here to make sure your visit to our service is as easy as possible. We understand that you may feel nervous or embarrassed about what questions you will be asked, or what tests will be done.

All our staff are friendly and non-judgemental, and they are used to testing for all kinds of infections.

All discussions are held in a private consultation space. Our services are confidential, we will not share records with anyone outside of the sexual health service, including your GP unless you give us permission to do so.

If you are under 16 years old, you can still attend our service in confidence – this means that we will not tell your parents or carers or anyone else without your permission.

  • If a professional has any safeguarding concerns about your safety or welfare, we may need to discuss this with someone else. However, we will talk to you about that before we pass any information on.

Is the service free?

Yes, everything within our service is free, including any tests or treatment you may need.

What will happen when I arrive?

You will be asked to fill in a registration form with your details.

You do not have to give your real name if you don’t want to (please tell us what you wish to be called). However, please make sure you remember the name you have used and it is important to give your correct contact details for any test results to be returned to you.

Any information you give us will be kept strictly confidential.

If you feel uncomfortable answering any questions in the reception area, you can ask for a private area to talk to the receptionist or if you would rather just speak to the doctor or nurse, that is okay.

You can ask to see a male or female clinician for your consultation, and you can have someone else in the room with you (a chaperone), but you might have to wait a bit longer than usual for this to be arranged.

What questions will I be asked?

You will be asked some questions about your sexual activity, including:

  • When you last had sex
  • If you have had any unprotected sex
  • Describe any symptoms you may have
  • You will be asked about your sexual partners

It may be appropriate to be asked about your menstrual cycle and if you are using any contraception.

You will also be asked about your general health and wellbeing.

Will I need an examination?

Depending on why you have come to see us, the doctor or nurse may want to do an examination. If you have symptoms such as discharge, rash, lump or bump, it will be helpful to have it looked at by a health professional. Being examined can also result in receiving treatment straightaway.

We understand this can be a bit awkward for some people, but we do examinations all the time and are only interested in helping you. We will explain what any examination involves before we start, and you can ask us to stop at any point.

What tests will I need to do?

If you have symptoms or are worried about a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you will need to provide some samples to check for infections.

This may include a urine sample or taking a swab yourself, such as a throat, vaginal or rectal swab, depending on the type of sex you have had.

The swabs are taken using a cotton bud, it may be uncomfortable but not painful.

If you have an examination, the doctor or nurse may take other samples at the same time, but they will explain everything that they are doing.

You are in control of the situation and only samples you consent to give will be taken.

What happens next?

Sometimes you will get some test results and treatment on the same day – if you need it. Other tests may take up to two weeks to come back.

You will be told how your results are returned to you confidentially, this is usually by text.

If any of your results come back as positive, you may be advised to come back to the clinic for treatment, if you haven’t received it already. You may be asked to return for more tests.

If you do have an STI, it is important to tell your sexual partner(s) so they can get tested and treated. If you do not want to do this, the clinic can do it for you – it’s called partner notification and they will not reveal who you are.

To make an appointment or for further advice, please call:

0300 303 1948

Phoneline open 08:15-16:45 Monday-Friday

(closed 12:30-13:30 for lunch)