When I first commenced my blog, in one of my very first posts (“Punter etiquette”) I mentioned how I believe Punters should also be checked out at an STI Clinic on a regular basis too.
My argument is this: would us gents wish to see a lady who we know was never checked out? The answer would probably be for most of us a definite “no”! Surely then, this cuts both ways, doesn’t it?
I am sure there are many reasons why guys would not do so, including “lack of time”, embarrassment, not knowing where to go to be seen and ignorance over what is involved.
In order to demystify what is involved, I asked a very good lady friend of mine to give her insight into the process. This is what she had to say:
I have been getting tested now every month for the past few years. It’s one of them things that is a pain in the arse to do on a regular basis and can be time consuming. However everyone should take their health seriously, as I do.
NHS GUM clinics are easy to find. I’m sure most towns provide family planning clinics, just have a look on your local hospitals website.
From my experience I have found some are friendlier than others. I go to an NHS clinic which is quite far away from my house, however I know the staff now and always get treated with respect. You could say the nurse who does my swabs is one my friends. I always find I am there a lot longer than expected. Not because i am waiting around, but because we are usually chatting!
I have visited private clinics before in London, but they are quite expensive and i find they charge extra for a lot of swabs and if you wanted to have Hepatitis injections (again something which i think is really important) then they will charge extra for these. I have usually paid between £150-£200 for a regular check-up. The results are usually back within 3 working days, compared to NHS which is anywhere between 7 days to 2 weeks.
Most clinics work the same way. You will either make an appointment or they will have a ‘walk in service’ which is great as you can just turn up. However i have found with walk in services it’s best to get there as early as possible as they can get very busy and if it’s close to closing time and they have a lot of people waiting still they may turn you away.
A member of staff will call you into the doctor. You will tell them if you have any concerns or any symptoms.
You will then sit back in the waiting room and wait for a nurse to call you in. When you do get called in the nurse will pull the curtain round and ask you to take off your trousers and knickers and to lay on the bed placing the paper towel over your modesty. She will then place a clamp inside you to open you up (don’t worry it sounds worse than it is) and she will take about 3 swaps from different areas. It doesn’t hurt; a couple of swabs can feel a little stingy. But usually they are really quick. If you have anal sex she will do a swab from the rectum.
After this she will ask you to put your clothes back on and to sit back down. She will then take some bloods from you to test for HIV and Syphilis. I’m not a great fan of blood been taken but then who is? I’m afraid it’s something which doesn’t get any easier for me and i always look away when the needle is put in.
After this she will ask you to open your mouth and she will take a swab from the back of your mouth. The whole process probably takes about 10 minutes (if you don’t gas as much as me that is!)
All of the nurses are very professional. There is never any reason to get embarrassed. Don’t forget they see this hundreds of times and nothing fazes them.
Most clinics will ask you would like any free condoms. Mine also supplies lubricant.
I will then get a text message telling me my results within 7 days. If there were any problems with the results they would just give you a call and ask you to go back and talk about the next step, depending on what STI you had. Again please don’t feel ashamed if you do have something, it’s best that you know to get it treated as soon as possible.
I think anyone having sexual intercourse with different partners should get tested on a regular basis. I understand people have commitments and can’t go every month, but i think once every 3 months is sufficient. Please do ask for a throat swab as i have heard that some clinics don’t just do them. Gonorrhoea in the throat is more common than you may think.
Thank you very much to Lady C for this informative and valuable insight!
I am sure we all want to enjoy safe and healthy Punting, so I wholeheartedly endorse LADY C’s comments and firmly recommend everyone getting checked out on a regular basis. I, for one, shall be making a return visit shortly.
Treatment can be gained for free on the NHS or paid for through a private clinic. See the links below.
For further information, look at the following websites:
Private clinic examples