Ever wondered how you go about getting a sexual health check in the UK, especially during a pandemic?
Having lived through the pandemic so far, I think we can all recognise that looking after our health to protect not only ourselves but other people, is really important. And just like with coronavirus, many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don’t actually get any symptoms.
Sexual health checks are a really basic activity we all need to do to look after ourselves – like getting a haircut or a check up at the dentist. In many ways, getting a sexual health check should be viewed as a bit of a non-event rather than a marker of anything more elaborate or significant. I would be lying if I said I ever felt like this though. And that’s okay.
So what holds us back?
Well, I don’t think any of us really like the idea of being prodded and swabbed in our most private area. I know I, and many of my friends, could explain feelings of shame, embarrassment and anxiety in the run up of going through this process.
Whether it’s the general worry of booking an appointment to the many questions of etiquette that run through your head as you carefully undress for an in person check up (should I take my socks off? Did I shave my legs? Is my willy weird?) I must admit all these feelings pass very quickly as you witness the remarkable professionalism of those who are there to help you through the process.
It’s now also really easy to find out what clinics and services are available in your area, all you have to do is pop in your postcode in online. Try this online postcode checker for services near you.
Self swab home kits
Really brilliantly, self swab home kits are now readily available, meaning that you can take a test in the comfort of your own home, especially important during the ongoing pandemic. Each STI kit is different depending on where you live. Some may only provide Chlamydia testing, whilst others may offer Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV and Syphilis tests.
You can find out if you are eligible for a free home test kit and what tests are available here.
Ultimately, as with any health problem, getting a diagnosis early on is so much better for getting treatment. Most STIs are really easy to treat with things like antibiotics, but left without treatment long-term they can cause more serious side effects.
If you want to find out anything more about Sexual Health services offered by the NHS, you can do this on their website.
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Last reviewed 25 January 2021 | Image Credit: NCI via Unsplash