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Frequently asked questions and answers about visiting a GUM clinic

Below are some frequently asked questions about visiting a GUM clinic. Click on each question to show the answer.

What personal details do I have to give?

When you register you will be asked for your name, date of birth and two methods of contact so results can be given to you. You will be given a clinic number. This number (not your name) and your initials are used on any tests carried out. You may wish to give your GP details but this is not required information. An appointment may take about 30 minutes but the time can vary, depending on symptoms and tests required.

What questions will I be asked?

The doctor or nurse will ask you about your sexual history. Sexual history includes:

  • the last time you had sex;
  • was this with a regular or casual partner;
  • was it with a man or woman;
  • did you have vaginal/anal/oral sex;
  • was a condom used.

You will also be asked about any symptoms, health history and any medications you are taking. Women will be asked about periods, cervical screening tests (often called a smear test) and pregnancies.

Are the tests uncomfortable?

Men who don’t have symptoms will generally just have a blood and urine test.

Men should try not to pass urine for at least an hour before attending the clinic for a checkup. If a man has symptoms of discharge/pus or discomfort passing urine, he will have a small swab test taken from the lining of the penis. This shouldn’t hurt but may feel a little uncomfortable.

Women who don’t have symptoms may take a swab themselves if they prefer. Otherwise, the tests are similar to having a smear taken.

When do I get my results?

Results for most tests should be available within 10-14 days and the clinic will discuss with you how your results will be given.

What happens if my results are positive?

A health professional from the clinic will contact you and let you know and discuss the condition and how it is treated. They will help you to get that treatment either back at the clinic or with your GP.

Can I see a doctor of the same sex?

Where possible, the clinic will try to accommodate you.  

Do I have to pay for an appointment and treatment?

No, the consultation, any tests and any treatment provided are free.

Is my appointment confidential?

Yes, unless you have shared something that indicates you are at risk or someone else is. In this case the doctor would talk to you about their concerns and work with you to protect you or others.

What will I be tested for and how?

Everyone will be offered testing for:

Depending on your symptoms, you may also have swabs for:

Will my GP automatically be told?

No, unless you are referred by your GP or you give permission for a letter to be sent to your GP.

Should I tell my partner if my result is positive?

If you have a positive result the clinic will discuss with you who needs to be contacted.

Can the GUM clinics help people with language difficulties?

Yes, the clinic can arrange an interpreter or telephone interpreting.

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