Recently, I changed partners (sounds like something from ballroom dancing), so I thought it would be wise to go to Royal South Hants and get a complete sexually transmitted infection test. I did this, not because I suspected my previous partner of doing anything wrong, but because I want to protect my current partner from even the slightest risk to their future health, especially given the articles below.
You aren’t allowed to pee until a urine sample is taken so I was regretting my lunchtime coffee as I was sitting in the waiting room. I was shown through to the examination room by a young nurse and a nursing student who was observing. They confirmed my details and then asked me some questions about my sexual history. I was surprised how comfortable and at ease I felt when I was talking about the most intimate part of my life in front of two young women, which is a testament to their professionalism and bedside manner.
I was finally allowed to pee, successfully half filling a sample bottle and peeing all over my hands. This was followed by a throat swab, where a long cotton bud was rolled over the back of my throat. This was done so quickly that the nurse managed to get the bud out before I coughed.
The next part was the bit I was not looking forward to… surprisingly for a Biomedical Sciences student, I am actually quite scared of needles. I apparently grew pale and started shaking when a blood test was mentioned. The nurse asked me to lie down and we chatted about my hometown and the Devonian accent.
I then felt some pressure on my arm, as the nurse applied a swab to where she had put the needle in and withdrawn two sample tubes of venous blood.
This needle was smaller than I expected, so I barely felt it. I watched as the nurse used a small sample of my blood to test for anti-HIV antibodies that my body could have produced in response to an HIV infection. This test took less than 3 mins and came back negative. I just got the results of the other tests, which require a high-tech lab due to their sensitivity and reliability. The tests found no evidence of STIs.
Having confirmed my contact details, I proceeded to a cafe for something to calm my nerves which was found in the form of tea and cake (the rock-and-roll lifestyle of students!) The whole procedure had taken less than half an hour but I think it was one of the best ways I could spend thirty minutes. Getting these tests carried out gave me peace of mind.
What you don’t know has the ability to hurt you and those you love so get checked.
You can call the Royal South Hants Sexual Health clinic on 0300 300 2016
Alternatively you can order a home test kit here https://www.letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk/worried-about-stis/order-a-test-online/