Your doctor will advise you about when the test results will be available; this can take up to a fortnight. Some people are diagnosed with an STI in another type of clinic - for example, at a GP surgery, or in a family planning clinic. GUM clinics are special clinics that help people who have, or may have, an STI or certain other problems with their genitals or urine system. It is important you understand how you will get your results, and that the contact information you give is reliable. How are the tests done? HIV, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis are usually tested for using a blood sample which is sent to a laboratory for analysis. For example, the bacteria that cause gonorrhoea can sometimes be identified by looking through a microscope. This may feel a little scratchy. Some clinics offer same-day HIV testing.
The clinic will not contact you at home or contact your GP without your permission. So, for example, if you had sex with someone who is HIV positive within the last few days, you may be advised to wait several weeks to have a blood test to see if you have become infected. This is to prevent your passing on any infection. If you are seen at your GP surgery the swabs - small balls of cotton wool on the end of a thin stick, used to collect samples - and blood tests will be sent to a laboratory for further testing. The important thing is that whatever name you do use, you should use the same name for any follow-up appointment, to avoid any confusion; for example, when you return for the result of any tests. Anyone can attend a GUM clinic. Sometimes this is done using a proctoscope. This depends on the infection involved. This means you get the result of the test on the day your blood sample is taken. Men may have their testicles testes examined. In these situations you are still likely to be referred to a GUM clinic for treatment, and for any follow-up or counselling that may be required. The doctor will then slowly remove the speculum. You will also be asked to speak to a sexual health advisor to help trace any of your sexual partners who may have come into contact with the infection. Until you are checked out, and treated if necessary, you should not have sex. They will ask you some questions to try to assess the situation and to determine what tests if any you may need. Conditions such as anogenital warts and pubic lice are usually diagnosed during an examination by a doctor and may not need any laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. This may vary depending on the clinic. In women, your doctor may also examine your vagina and womb uterus by gently inserting a lubricated, gloved finger. The plates are then checked to see if any bacteria which cause STIs have grown. When you arrive at a clinic you will have to register. After the examination is complete your doctor may also take some tests. Some clinics offer same-day HIV testing. This information is treated confidentially. Some clinics can become quite busy. This may mean you are given a positive result on the day, if you have the infection. After your doctor or nurse has checked your samples they will call you back into the consulting room. For some infections you will be asked to return after a course of treatment to check that the infection has gone.
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