Sexual health checks

If you think you are at risk of having an STI, or recently were told by someone that you have had sex with those who had a STI then it’s a good time to come in and chat about your sexual health.

It’s important to know that we may ask some questions that clarify your risks, but we never pass any judgement on sexual practices. Everybody has different tastes, all we want to do is make sure you’re staying safe while having sex.

What does a sexual health check involve?

It depends on what kind of sex you’re having. We want to check for both bacterial and viral infections, and this can involve a urine sample, swabs and a blood test.

Swabs can be collected from the throat, urethra, cervix and rectum. They are also taken if there are lesions that are suspicious for genital herpes or syphilis.

Urethral swabs are required in patients with symptoms of urethritis and discharge (if the discharge isn’t directly present).

Often sexual health tests will be conducted looking for;

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Syphilis
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

If you’re having issues with the skin, then a physical examination may be all that’s required to have a look and make a diagnosis. Common sexually transmitted skin conditions include;

  • Crabs
  • Genital and anal herpes
  • Genital and anal warts
  • Scabies
  • Molluscum contagiosum

Not every test is necessary for every person, so have a chat to your doctor to decide what should be checked and how often.

How often should I have a sexual health check

Anytime that you think you may have been exposed to an STI.

This often means having unprotected sexual intercourse, or if a recent partner has told you they have been diagnosed with an STI, or they’ve had sexual contact from someone diagnosed with an STI.

If you are sexually active, then chlamydia (and sometimes gonorrhoea) should be tested for annually or more frequently if the risk is higher.

If you fall into a higher risk category then you may need testing more frequently.

These groups include people who;

  • Have unprotected anal sex
  • Have had greater than 10 sexual partners in the last 6 months
  • Participate in group sex
  • Use recreational drugs during sex
  • Or are HIV positive

If you think you are at higher risk, then STI testing up to 4 times a year is advised.

Please see our detailed page on How often should I have a sexual health check  for more information.

This is all kind of embarrassing, what questions will you ask me?

There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to sex. Although it can be rather personal and something private, it is important to talk openly to your doctor about your concerns and sexual practices. Some typical questions we might ask you are;

  • When was the last time you had sex?
  • Have you had sex with anyone else?
  • How do you have sex? Vaginal, oral, anal, other?
  • Did you use a condom?
  • Have your partners been male or female?
  • How many sexual partners have you had in the last 3 months?
  • Have you ever been paid to have sex?
  • Have you ever paid for sex?

And so on.

How do I get my results?

We will discuss this at the time of testing, but you may receive an SMS or a phone call from the nurse informing you of your results. SMS will only ever contain generic information, and will not list the names of any conditions tested for.

How do I let people know they might have an STI?

One thing that makes people quite anxious is how do they let their sexual contacts know to get tested and treated. It should be reassuring that most people report appreciation at being informed, rather than finding out later when they develop symptoms.

Each condition has a different contact tracing period so your doctor will help guide you here.

If you absolutely can not tell your previous partners about potential exposure, you can always use websites such as

Or let your doctor know so they can help inform your partners.

I don’t really want to get another STI, how do I stay safe?

Not having sex really isn’t an acceptable option to most people, so we have to rely on the next best thing.

Condoms.

They do work, and they work well. However they do need to be used properly to reduce and prevent the chance of becoming infected with an STI. It’s important to remember they still aren’t 100% and don’t protect against all STI’s, but are very effective in preventing HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Syphilis can be protected if a sore is covered by the condom, but it can still affect areas outside of this.

Asking your potential partners about any known STI’s or recent checks can be helpful, but also isn’t 100%.

For people at high risk of developing HIV, there is medicine available to prevent the chance of contracting the virus if taken every day. This is called PrEP, and you can read more about it here.

Our Specialties

Green Square Health provides a range of services to fulfil the needs of our community.
Please find more information on the pages below about our services and tips on how to stay healthy.