The idea of visiting a sexual health clinic can seem quite daunting and the thought of discussing anything relating to sex or your private parts can flush you with feelings of embarrassment. The truth is, there really isn’t anything to worry about. We all have sexual health to consider and like physical and mental health, from time to time we may need to pay it extra attention. Just remember, that everyone in that waiting room is there for a similar reason.
I’ve visited a sexual health clinic a couple of times in my life and to be fair, we should all probably be doing this more regularly. You can visit a clinic for a number of reasons:
To be tested for a sexually transmitted infection
To receive treatment for a diagnosed STI
For blood tests relating to particular conditions such as HIV
For advice regarding sex
To receive contraception
To get emergency contraception
To have a physical check over and be screened as a precaution
You may also be visiting to support a close friend or family member.
From my own experience, visiting a clinic wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. In this instance, I visited as a support to my friend. Some clinics offer a walk-in service, while others allow you to book an appointment. At least one of my visits operated on a walk-in basis.
Once we had arrived and approached reception to sign in, my friend was given some forms to fill out. It’s all really basic stuff and they also ask for a brief indication of why you are there. This helps to prioritise patients and also ensure that you are seeing the right professional who will provide the right care and service.
You’re given a number on a ticket, and the healthcare professionals emerge calling for a number each time.
The actual appointment is very thorough. The nurses in my friend’s case, helped to make her feel relaxed and able to talk about why she was there and what support she needed. They ensured before she left, that she had accessed everything she needed to and gave her further leaflets and information to take away.
I think it’s easy to forget that the nurses are trained in sexual health and they have probably seen and heard everything during their career. Everything discussed is confidential so there really is nothing to worry about- your friends and family can’t find out anything unless necessary.
If you’ve been putting off visiting, then I encourage you to look into it.