A Doctor or a nurse will ask you questions about your relationships and sexual partners, what contraception you use and any relevant medical history. They will not tell anyone you have been to see them, unless they think that you or somebody else is ast risk, they will tell you if they are going to tell anyone else you have been to see them.
You might feel embarrassed, but there's no need – it's their job and they won't judge you. They will do their best to explain everything to you and make you feel at ease.
In Coventry the main sexual health clinic is called the Integrated Sexual Health Service, the service and treatment is free. It is called integrated as it also provides contraception, no-one knows if you are attending for an STI test or treatment or for contraception.
Visiting the Integrated Sexual Health Service
You can make an appointment or you can go to a drop-in clinic (which means you can just turn up). You can also book an appointment online.
Your name and details
You'll be asked for your name and some contact details. You don't have to give your real name if you don't want to. If you do, it will be kept confidential, your GP won't be told of your visit without your permission.
If you have tests and the results aren't available during your visit, the clinic will need to contact you later, so give them the correct contact details.
They will check how you want to receive your results. They can usually be given to you over the phone, in a text or in an unmarked letter.
Answering some questions
Be prepared to answer questions about your sex life, including:
- when you last had sex
- whether you have had unprotected sex
- whether you have any symptoms
- why you think you might have an infection
You can ask to for a female or male doctor/nurse but you might have to wait longer for one to become available.
Having an STI test
The doctor/nurse will tell you what tests they think you need and why you need them. If you're not sure about anything, ask them to explain.
The tests might involve:
- a urine (pee) sample
- a blood sample
- swabs from the urethra (tube where urine comes out)
- an examination of your genitals
- if you're female, swabs from the vagina
Getting your test results
With some tests, you can get the results (and treatment, if you need it) on the same day. For others, you might have to wait for a week or two, if so the clinic will check how you would prefer to receive your results.
If you test positive for an STI, you will be asked to go back to the clinic to talk about your results and your treatment. Many STI's can be cured with antibiotics. Some infections, such as HIV, have no cure, but there are treatments available.
Telling your partner and previous partners you have an STI
If possible, tell your sexual partner and any ex-partners so they can get tested and treated as well. If you don't want to do this, the service can do this for you (it's called partner notification and the service won't reveal who you are).
The best way to protect yourself from getting or passing on an infection is to use a condom every time you have sex.
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