So, if you’re someone who has sex, it’s important to go get tested.
For some people, there’s a lot of anxiety about going to get tested at a sexual health clinic, but I’m here to let you know, sexual health services in the UK have come along in the last decade or some. So regardless of any the horror stories, you might have heard, here’s what actually happened the last time I went to get tested – which was last week.
If you’re worried that medical implements are going to be stuck down your dick or up your ass or concerned that a bevvy of doctors will be taking a prolonged look at your squishy bits – you need to read on.
I’ve recently moved to a new area and thought about checking up on the sexual health services area, after a quick look online, I found my local sexual health clinic and was able to book my appointment online.
When entering the building, I was able to log in via a screen in the reception. Once booked in, I waited, perhaps 5 minutes before my name was read out – and I followed my nurse, Lesley, into a private office – where she checked my details, asked me a few basic sexual questions – like when was the last time I had sex – oral, anal and any other sexual activities which I had concerns about.
She asks what brought me to get tested today and I tell her that I want to be tested for HIV as well as other sexual health screenings.
I also ask her about getting the HPV vaccine – which she says is not a problem – she also suggests getting the Hepatitis vaccination. Which I agreed to.
After that, we walk across the hallway to a treatment room – in which there was a urinal, a sink, a bed and a trolley of medical supplies.
She asked me whether I wanted an oral and anal swab. ‘In for a penny’, I think and agree to both. She hands me a cotton wool bud in a long-thin plastic container and another small plastic container.
She leaves the room and allows me to, in private, pee in the cup and take my own anal swab, it’s really simple and you insert the bud about an inch or two inside you.
I put the top back on the pee jar and the swab back into its plastic container.
Next, after a few minutes, she reenters the room and takes the oral / throat swab, which again is another cotton wool bud. She says “it might make you gag…” I think, “not likely”. It doesn’t.
She then takes a vial of blood, which is painless and takes seconds.
She then collects the pee, the swabs and disappears from the room.
Moments later reappears with the vaccinations, I’ve asked for. Hep A and B and the HPV.
I have two injections in my right arm and the other in my left. All in all, I’m in the room for less than 15 minutes.
There was no examination of my body, although I’m guessing if I went in with specific issues she would have taken a look.
There was no sticking anything down my pee hole and no fingers up my butt.
My swabs were all done by myself. Self-service!
A week later a ping on my phone lets me know all my tests are clear.
So please, don’t fret about going to a sexual health clinic. It really isn’t invasive and remember knowledge is power. Your health status isn’t something you should shy away from – and the best thing, in the UK, testing and my vaccinations were free thanks to the NHS.
The resident Agony Uncle for THEGAYUK.com with over seven years of counselling experience with the LGBT+ community.