Getting help with STIs
Your GP's surgery
Although some GPs are specialists in sexual health this is not normally the case. Your GP will be able to offer you advice on sexual health and safer sex but will not necessarily offer testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Specialist clinics for sexually transmitted infections - genitourinary medicine (GUM) or STI clinics
These clinics (sometimes called 'clap clinics' or 'VD clinics'), which can often be found in hospitals, are set up to deal with the testing and treatment of STIs. They offer free and confidential advice on sexual health and STIs and can, if necessary, contact previous partners anonymously. Your GP will not be notified about your visit to the clinic and you don't even need to give your name to the clinic if you really don't want to. There are a number of advantages in going to a clinic to get advice or tested:
- They are obliged by law to keep all information you give to them confidential (although there are some rare exceptions)
- They are specialists in this area and so are expert at spotting symptoms and offering counselling
- They are likely to do the full range of tests
- You can get free condoms and advice on safer sex as part of your treatment
- They are usually the quickest route to getting test results.
In some cases clinics will be able to find out if you have an infection and give you the right medicine there and then, and it's all FREE!
Your local clinic may run an appointment system or you may be able to drop in to an open session. Phone first to find out what system is operated at your clinic.
To find out where your local GUM clinic is, click here and simply enter your town, city or London borough in the box.
If you would like to speak to someone about your concerns or would like to find out where your local clinic is, contact FPA, the sexual health and contraception help line, on 0845 310 1334.
Other web site links
There is a lot of information about health and sexual health on the Internet. Besides the web sites highlighted in the 'Infection section' here are some sites which you may find useful:
Page created on July 16th, 2003
Page updated on January 16th, 2010