Sexual Health Examinations

STI Health Check Up

April is sexual health awareness month! although we are almost halfway through anytime of the year is a great time to visit your General Practitioner to get a sexual health check up! A sexual health check up involves visiting your General Practitioner, a sexual health clinic or a youth clinic. Youth clinic can be visited if you meet their age criteria. Many people find seeing their General Practitioner to be very daunting especially if it is a family doctor you can be assured that any medical professional is under strict laws to keep your information private, confidential and they are not allowed to share you information or test results with out your expressed permission. If you do have a sexual health examinations at a clinic you may be asked to participate anonymously in a survey to help local and national organisations better campaigns and methods of testing.

 The best times to get sexual health check ups are:
  • Before you become sexually active with a new partner
  • If you’ve had more that 2 sexual partners within 12 months or have had sexual relations with an overseas partner
  • If you consume narcotics or alcohol before sex as it lowers inhibitions and increases the chance of engaging in risky behaviour
  • If you have been diagnosed with an STI in the last 12 months
  • If you are showing symptoms of an STI or have weird bumps appearing in private areas
Clinics will often ask you to fill out a sexual health background questionnaire as you wait. Many of the questions can seem personal or confronting but the questionnaire helps to determine what type of samples they will need to take and have tested at the laboratory. All the information, you give them will be kept strictly confidential.
STI Symptoms
Graph: STI
Questions that may be asked:
  • How many partners have you been sexually intimate with?
  • What sexual acts have you preformed? Anal? Oral? Vaginal?
  • What gender you sleep with or if you sleep with both
  • Have you had any symptoms that may suggest you have contracted an STD?
  • Are you up to date with the recommended vaccinations? i.e HPV and HEP B

Other questions you maybe asked during the examination aren’t really related to sex acts but contribute to the advice and sample requirements when being tested for STDs

  • Have you any tattoos or piercings and where they are located?
  • Have you injected narcotics or shared injecting equipment?
You may find answering these questions embarrassing but if you have genuine concerns or are uncomfortable with doctor or nurse who is treating you it is at your discretion to say so and request another nurse or to request another clinic. It is entirely up to you if you feel uncomfortable as this process can be quite a stressful period for you.
A full spectrum exam can involve a urine sample; a swab taken vaginally, orally or rectally and blood test. Women can choose to have a pap smear also to test for abnormalities in the cervical cells that can lead to cancer. It is good to have regular check ups even if you don’t believe you have an STI as the test’s could let you know what else is happening in your body. The results from these examinations usually take 7 days to come back. if your results come back negative you don’t have a sexually transmissible disease! You will still need to use a condom to avoid pregnancy or if your partner has not undertaken a sexual health test.
If your test is positive you will be given the correct information and the course of action to treat it. most will require antibiotics and others like herpes or HIV will require ongoing treatment. not all STDs are curable although medical intervention and advancements STDs are manageable.
A number of counselling services are available to you if you feel it is something you do require.

About the Author:  Amy is a Sales Consultant at the Adult Lifestyle Centre, Kogarah.