So today. 14th January, is STIQ day. The Q stands for question and the idea behind the day is to encourage people to think about the sexual health and encourage people to get check-ups and ask questions about who they can better keep themselves safe and healthy whilst having an active sex life.
Sexually transmitted infections continue to be a major health risk for people and whilst the over all number of reported infections in 2018 fell the rates of Gonorrhoea (a 22% rise) and Syphilis (a 20% rise) have risen from the previous year and in March 2018, the first case of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea was reported in the U.K. So now is as good a time as any to take a moment and think about your sexual health.
When was the last time you got tested?
Have you had sex with multiple partners since then?
Or maybe your partner has had sex with other people?
Maybe you and your partner have never been tested since you got together?
Unless you are absolutely sure you are in a fluid bound relationship with a single partner and have both been tested since starting that relationship or are not sexually active since your last test then you really should get yourself checked out. It can make all the difference when it comes to treatment as for many of these infections the earlier you catch them the easier it is to treat them and it can also give you peace of mind as hopefully you will discover that you are STI free.
Going for a check up can also give you an excellent opportunity to talk to a medical professional about how you can reduce your risks when it comes to STI’s but also a great time to talk about contraception and any other sexual related questions you might have. It might sound a bit daunting but it really is not, there are NHS STI clinics set up all around the UK that you can go to and they are friendly, welcoming and non-judgemental.
Don’t believe me? Then read about Monika’s recent experience of visiting her local Sexual Health Clinic.
For the past few months everywhere I looked on social media or in the news all I could see were big words shouting at me – Get Tested For STI! It just got stuck in my head and
I knew that I had to do something about it. So me being very curious and having a very deep desire to check my body I decided to actually go and get tested. I initially got an appointment by my GP because I thought that was the best and easiest cause way but I was informed that I didn’t need to do that and the best way was to go to the NHS Sexual Health Clinic which I didn’t need an appointment for and they would see me. So I got the leaflet with the date and I was actually excited about finally going to do this.
I live in Leicester so it was easy to find the clinic where I supposed to have my tests done. The lady at the reception desk was really nice and I felt very comfortable the moment I arrived there. I didn’t have to wait too long so that was a bonus. In my head I had so many questions to ask, as I had few other intimate issues I wanted to solve. After few minutes of waiting I got invited into the room by a really nice lady. Firstly she got my details like name and address, do I have any kids and partner, when was the last time I had
intercourse when was my last period and what contraception do I use – none of the questions made me feel uncomfortable and she was really easy to talk to. I felt comfortable telling her that I didn’t currently use any birth control but I would like to change that and choose the right one for me. She explained to me all the options and I was happy to make another appointment to make it happen. What a relief!
Then it was a time to take the samples for the STI tests. It was a simple swab of my vagina. It took just a couple of minutes and was neither painful or uncomfortable. I was worried that the test would not happen because I was on my period but it didn’t matter. The test can still be done. First STI tests completed! While I’m here I might kill two birds with one stone and do a HIV test! I’ve never done before it so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I went to other room to see different lady who took a blood sample. I got informed that I have to wait 7 to 10 days for the result which was not a big deal at all.
I left the clinic with a peace of mind and a satisfaction that I have finally got tested. It was something that I always wanted to do but never made time for which was not a good thing at all. I really would recommend that you get tested for STI’s. It really was easy and has given me huge peace of mind. People at the clinic were nice and helpful they also answered some of the other questions I had about my body and contraception. It was absolutely worth doing. My advice would be don’t wait or keep putting it off like I did but make the time to do it and you will be happy that you did.
Sadly due to budget cuts in the NHS for some people their Sexual Health Clinic might be a significant distance away. If that happens to be the case for you then check out FreeTest and you might be eligible to have one sent to your home. Also Freedoms Shop who not only sell bargain packs of Condoms but also do a home HIV testing kit that you can order. m