Help! I Think I’ve Got a Problem Down There

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If you think you might have caught something nasty through having sex, you might feel too embarrassed to go and see your GP. So, what do you do? If you can’t bear the thought of visiting your regular doctor to get checked out, then there are other options. You don’t have to be ashamed. It’s far more widespread than you might realise, after all, it’s not something you really want to shout about, is it? People tend not to talk about their sexual health problems, even to their closest friends. There are shame and stigma attached to getting an STI. You can find out more about different types of STI over here.


No one wants anyone to think that they are dirty or loose. There are lots of connotations with having caught something horrible through having sex, but it can happen to almost anyone. You shouldn’t let fear or shame stop you from reaching out for help. It certainly isn’t going to go away by itself.  


Visiting a clinic for the very first time? You will normally be asked to fill in a form with some of your basic information, like contact details, your name and date of birth. They may also ask questions about your sexual history. Tell the truth. The people who work in these places are pretty unshockable and trust me; they’ve seen much, much worse. They aren’t there to judge you, and they won’t. They’re there to make sure you can get the help and treatment you need, so try not to worry. You can check out how it works here


You can choose to be anonymous if you don’t want to give your details, and that’s fine too. Your GP doesn’t even have to know; it is entirely your choice. Are you under 18? Your visit and your records will still be kept totally confidential. The only time they wouldn’t be would if you were at risk of harm. Doctors have a duty of care to their patients, especially those who are young or vulnerable. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a male doctor about your problems, you can ask for a female instead, but you’re best to do this in advance. At the very least, try and ask at the reception when you arrive.


You can visit your doctor or a sexual health clinics to get treated for your embarrassing infection. First of all, they’ll need to find out what it is, so you’ll have to be tested. This can be done in a variety of ways, but usually, swabs are taken. You might feel a little uncomfortable baring all, but remember, your privates will be just one of hundreds they see every week.


Some results are quicker than others. Some conditions like HIV or syphilis can take up to three months to show an effect. You’ll be asked to return for results if you’ve opted to stay anonymous, or they may write or call you. Appropriate treatment will be offered to suit your particular problem. If you have chosen not to share your details, you must make sure you do go back for your test findings. You could be putting your own health – and that of others at risk if you don’t.


If you do have a positive result, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Pretty much most sexually transmitted diseases can be treated. Don’t panic too much Your clinician will give you advice on what happens now and what you should do next. It all depends on what it is you have.  A lot of STD’s can now be cured, thanks to modern medicine. Others may not be curable, but there are ways they can be effectively managed, usually through medication.

It’s very rare indeed for a false positive result. It can happen, though, especially when testing for some of the rarer conditions that can occur. In this case, you may well be asked to take another test for clarification and to make sure results are reliable. Find out more about by false positives here

If you do have an STI, then it is your responsibility to tell your partner and anyone else you may have sexual contact with. You should also let any other past partners if you had sex with them became infected. If you really can’t face doing this, then your GP or clinic may be able to assist you with this. They’re used to breaking the bad news, and it really does have to be done. The clinic can even do this anonymously. Your name doesn’t have to be mentioned if you don’t want it to.


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