HIV/STI Screening and Treatment

FAQs about STI Testing and Treatment

Our friendly and welcoming staff are here to make your visit to our sexual health clinics as easy as it can be – if it helps here are some frequently asked questions about the service.

Is the service free?

Yes and that includes any treatment you may need.

Do I need to see my GP first?

No, you don’t need to be referred to our service by your GP as you can ‘self-refer’. You do not need a letter from your family doctor to attend one of our clinics you simply phone the clinic and make an appointment or drop into Central Clinic for a walk-in appointment. We recommend you arrive early to avoid disappointment and to be allocated a time slot for later that day.

What healthcare specialists work there?

As well as doctors and nurses, our STI Screening and Treatment Service has specialist Health Advisors and Health Promotion Workers who can help you with worries, and give you additional information you may need.

What sort of problems can the STI Screening and Treatment Service help with?

You can attend our sexual health clinic for tests if you think you might have a STI, whether or not you have symptoms (such as a discharge form your penis or vagina). You can also attend the clinic to be tested for HIV or for a routine sexual health check-up.

Do I need to bring anything with me?

If it is your first visit we will need to register you on our computer system so it would be useful if you know your address and postcode, and the name of your GP practice (we will not contact them if you do not wish us to do so).

What will happen when I arrive?

You will be welcomed by one of our receptionists who will take your name and other necessary details, then ask you to take a seat and wait for your name to be called.

What can I do if the receptionist asks me questions that I find difficult to answer in the waiting room?

If you feel uncomfortable at any time, you can ask the receptionist to find somewhere more private to talk or tell the receptionist that you would rather give your details to the doctor or nurse .

Can I be sure the service is confidential and my information will be kept private?

All the information in your notes on the computer and from the discussions you have with us are strictly confidential. It can sometimes be useful to share your records with your GP but we will not do this without your express permission to do so. We will ask you whether you are happy for us to send correspondence to your home address or your GP and if you would prefer us not to do this and we need to contact you for any reason, then a doctor or nurse will discuss alternative ways of getting in touch.

The only other time we would tell anyone else about your visit would be if:

  • You are under 18 and tell us about someone who has abused you sexually, physically or emotionally
  • You are 12 or under and tell us that someone has had sex with you
  • Your life is at serious risk
  • You tell us about someone under 18 who is being abused
  • Another person’s life is at risk

But we would discuss this with you first and give you all the support you need.

Can I bring friends or family with me?

You can bring anyone you trust to be with you in the reception area and even to accompany you when you go into the room to see the doctor or nurse. However, if you choose to have another person in the room with you, we cannot guarantee that they will not share the information you give to us with another person.

Can I have a chaperone?

We are committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where our patients and staff are confident that best practice is being followed. Every patient is entitled to have a trained chaperone present for any consultation or procedure.

Can I bring my children with me?

For intimate procedures such as examinations it is best not to have children with you as they cannot be left without someone to look after them in the waiting room.

Will I need to be examined?

You will only need to be examined if you have symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection that need to be checked out. If swabs need to be taken (e.g. to check for an infection) then you may be given the option of taking these yourself.

What samples will I be asked to give?

This depends on why you are visiting us. If you are attending for a sexual health screen for possible infections (e.g. a chlamydia test) then we will ask for a urine sample, a blood sample and maybe a vaginal, oral and/ or anal swab dependent on the type of sex you have. But only samples you consent to give will be taken.

Do swabs hurt?

No, they are taken using a cotton bud and whilst this might be a bit uncomfortable but they are not usually painful.

When will I get the results?

We have the facility to provide some STI results and give the appropriate treatment straight away. This includes tests for Gonorrhoea, Thrush, Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and Trichomonas (TV).

For all other test results, you will receive these between 1-2 weeks after your visit. If an STI is diagnosed you will be asked to return to the clinic for treatment to cure or manage the infection depending on the diagnosis. In addition to treating your infection, we can also help you manage the infection by contacting any partners who may have been at risk and ensuring they are offered screening too. This is managed discreetly and confidentially and will only be done with your consent.

Can I just get condoms?

Yes. If you are aged 16 or over you can come to any of our sexual health clinics and see a receptionist there who will be able to issue you with a supply of condoms.

What if I only want to have a Chlamydia test?

If you are aged 16 to 24 you can have a test without having to see a nurse or doctor. Self Service test kits are available in the toilets in our clinics. If you are aged 25 or over we prefer to offer a full range of STI test including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV – for these you will need to see a nurse or doctor.

Is there an interpreting service?

Interpreters can be arranged for a clinic appointment or hospital visit if required. If you prefer, you can attend with an English speaking friend or relative. If you need an interpreter this will be provided free of charge but we will require a few days to organise one. In an emergency a telephone interpreter is available.

Is there a hearing loop available?

Yes Sexual Health Sheffield has a portable hearing loop which you can request for use during your consultation. Please speak to a receptionist to organise this.

I just want some advice over the phone

For sexual health advice or to speak to a Health Advisor please phone 0114 226 8888 during our clinic opening times you can see them on our STI screening page.