Do you have any questions about visiting an anonymous STD clinic? Many people share the same concerns about testing. Take a look at these common questions …
Most people have a few questions when it comes to visiting an STD clinic – from concerns about anonymity to worries about waiting times. Yet, many of these issues have simple answers.
Take a look at the questions about STD testing below to see if you can find the answers you need:
Do I need to be referred by my GP?
For both NHS GUM clinics and private STD clinics you do not need to be referred by your GP.
Do I have to make an appointment?
If a clinic offers a walk-in service then you don’t have to make an appointment – just turn up. However, it should be noted that at some NHS GUM clinics the waiting time can be quite long and that not all clinics offer walk-in services.
Will I have to wait ages to get seen?
At the best private clinics you could be in and out within half an hour. Make sure you visit a clinic with a walk-in service. NHS clinics may have significantly longer waiting times (which could be an issue if you want to get tested in your lunch hour, for example).
Will I have to give my real name?
It’s up to you which name you use. If you feel more comfortable using a different name, that’s fine. Of course, if you do use your real name your information will stay strictly confidential.
How do I know my information will remain confidential?
Private clinics are covered by different laws to GPs when it comes to your medical records. While some information from your GP can be accessed in special cases for employment or insurance, the information at private clinics is protected under the Data Protection Act.
Will it be a discreet environment?
The best clinics won’t be located on a busy high street surrounded by shops and pubs. Instead, they will be set in a discreet location, with an unassuming entrance.
Similarly, the reception room won’t be full of people waiting for hours on end.
How will the staff treat me?
The best clinics will have friendly, experienced and non-judgemental staff. They won’t look down on you or question your lifestyle. They’re simply there to help you take care of your sexual health.
What will they need to know about me?
The health professionals at the clinic will only ask you a few questions to determine which types of test you may need, and to establish what your concerns are. This may include questions such as when you last had sex, how many partners you have had in the last few months and when your last STD test was.
How do the tests work?
This depends on the type of STD test you take. In many cases, you’ll simply have to provide a urine sample. Sometimes doctors may need to take a swab of the genitals or the mouth – but this is usually very straightforward and involves no real discomfort. Some tests, such as HIV tests, may require blood samples.
When can I expect results?
Again, this depends on both the clinic and the type of test. However, many private clinics can offer results within minutes for some tests, and within 24hrs for most others.