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HealthInfo Canterbury

Sexual Health Centre

young male consultingThe Christchurch Hospital Sexual Health Centre is for people needing tests, treatment, and follow-up for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and associated genital or urinary problems. Healthcare at the Sexual Health Centre is confidential.

All services are free if you're eligible for free or subsidised healthcare in New Zealand.

Even if you aren't eligible, the screening and treatment of most STIs is still free. Ask the Sexual Health Centre if you'll be charged for treatment.

Making an appointment

You need to make an appointment before going to the clinic.

To make sure everything goes well at your visit, please:

Please be on time. If you're late for your appointment, you might have to wait until somebody can see you, or you might have to make another appointment.

When you arrive, the receptionist will assign you a clinic number and record your name and other contact details. They'll ask you to take a seat in the waiting area until you can see a doctor or nurse.

You may want your partner or support person to come along with you. Just be aware that you may need to discuss personal information in your consultation with the doctor or nurse.

During your consultation

You can ask to see a female or male doctor or nurse. The clinic will try to meet your preference, but sometimes it might not be able to. There'll always be a female nurse present if a woman or girl is being examined by a male doctor. The clinic will also try to keep you seeing the same nurse or doctor every time you visit, but again, this might not always be possible.

The doctor or nurse will first ask about what's worrying you. They'll also ask some questions to find out what's likely to have caused the thing that's worrying you. These questions can be intimate and about your sex life but aren't meant to embarrass or upset you. You might find some of these questions a bit difficult, but the answers can help the doctor or nurse decide what's the best way to treat your problem. It's your choice how much information you share.

With your consent (meaning you'll be asked if it's OK), the doctor or nurse will examine you and do any tests you need. If required, the clinic can provide another health professional to be with you during the examination. Generally, the clinic tests everyone for gonorrhoea, chlamydia and other bacterial infections, and for syphilis and HIV. HIV and syphilis tests are simple blood tests. Gonorrhoea, chlamydia and other bacterial infection tests are urine (wee), or swabs.

If you want, the clinic can code your test results to make sure no one can see your name on them.

The clinic can do some tests while you wait, others take up to five working days for results. The clinic will try to contact you if a test is positive or needs repeating, so please check your contact details at every visit. If you'd rather phone for results, you will need to quote the clinic number you got from the receptionist.

Treatment

You can get condoms for free from the clinic – just ask for them.

You may get pills, cream, or injections to treat your condition. The doctor or nurse will tell you how to take or use any medication and put it in writing. Sometimes they'll give you a prescription to take to a chemist. You don't have to pay for treatments that you get while you're at the clinic.

Your recent sexual partners will often need to be contacted and treated at the same time. The clinic can help you with this.

Follow-up

You may need to return for another appointment. This is usually to make sure that the treatment has cured your infection, or for further treatment and advice. If you miss a follow-up appointment, the clinic may phone you.

Health advisors

The doctor or nurse may ask you to see a health advisor, or you can ask for this yourself. This is an important part of your visit. It gives you the chance to discuss your condition in more detail or to get more information. It's also a chance to talk in a relaxed environment about anything else affecting your sexual health.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers and the Christchurch Hospital Sexual Health Clinic. Last reviewed February 2019.

See also:

Understanding your vaginal swab results

Page reference: 21685

Review key: HISHC-21685