After adjustment for age, those who attended SHCs in the past year were more likely to report a range of sexual behaviours considered to be markers of STI risk, including multiple sexual partners and concurrency all past year and were more likely to perceive themselves at risk of STIs. Figure 1 Prevalence of sexual health clinic attendance and unsafe sex in last year by sex and age group. What type of sex are you having? Will my regular doctor find out about any tests or treatments I have? The length of your appointment will depend on whether or not you have any symptoms. With some STIs, you might need further tests or to go back for follow-up tests to check that the infection has gone. Our test kits and treatments come in discreet packaging to safeguard your privacy, and are ready to use from the comfort of your own home. Among those who had never attended a SHC,
All tests are optional and should only be done with your permission. These may act as a triage, referring those at higher risk or with a positive test result. Sometimes a small plastic loop is used to take a sample to look at under the microscope. In particular, while we recognise that risks may differ by age and age of sexual partners, we did not have the power to stratify analysis by age. What should I expect from the questionnaire? If you have been sexually assaulted, you may be offered a specialist service. It's fine to take a friend with you for support. Attendance at SHC was also higher in younger than older people reporting unsafe sex and in addition many young people, particularly women, who had not attended a SHC reported chlamydia testing. This refers to condom use for vaginal and anal sex since Natsal-3 did not ask about condom use during oral sex, which is a limitation as transmission risk for many STIs is determined by condomless oral sex. This means that your personal details and any information about the tests or treatments you have received will not be shared with anyone outside the sexual health service without your permission. Some of the questions typically asked by sexual health staff include: Strong referral systems between local healthcare providers are required to ensure that those requiring more specialist services access them. This means that someone else can be with you when you have the examination. However, staff may encourage you to talk to your parents, guardian or another trusted adult. You should also ask as many questions as you need to — and make sure you get answers that you understand. People reporting behaviours that are markers of potential STI transmission risk were more likely to report recent SHC attendance and many of those not attending SHCs reported testing for chlamydia. Figure 1 Prevalence of sexual health clinic attendance and unsafe sex in last year by sex and age group. The tests that are carried out will depend on the answers you give to questions about your sexual history, and whether you have any symptoms or not. The data do not allow us to investigate why people chose particular services and further research is required to draw conclusions about this and gauge satisfaction with particular sexual health services. Of those who had not attended a SHC in the past year, We ask that you answer every question as honestly and accurately as possible to ensure our clinicians diagnose you correctly and give you the most appropriate advice and treatment. We have tested and treated many people who want to take care of themselves discreetly and without going to their local GP. SHCs remain stigmatised services but qualitative research 26 shows attendance helps normalise the experience and reduces felt stigma and the fear of discrimination. These are individuals who may not receive comprehensive sexual healthcare in primary care settings, when compared with a SHC, where the full range of STI tests, appropriate treatment, provider-led partner notification and health promotion support are more likely to be available, 22—24 and it is encouraging that SHC use is higher among these key populations. If you need to be tested for sexually transmitted infections STIs , you may need to provide a blood or urine sample.
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