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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 are eligible for free or subsidised healthcare in New Zealand.

Even if you are not eligible, the screening and treatment of most STIs is still free. Ask the Sexual Health Centre if you will be charged for treatment.

You need to make an appointment before going to the clinic. If the clinic is fully booked, the clinic will refer you to another service, such as Family Planning or a walk-in GP clinic.

When you arrive, the receptionist will assign you a clinic number and record your name, address, and so on. They will 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, and think about whether you want your support person to hear.

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 will 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 will also ask some questions to find out what is likely to have caused the thing that's worrying you. These questions can be intimate and about your sex life, but are not 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 to decide what's the best way to treat your problem.

With your consent (meaning you will be asked if it's OK), the doctor or nurse will examine you and do any tests you need. 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 that everyone who goes to the clinic has. Gonorrhoea, chlamydia and other bacterial infection tests are swabs that everyone who goes to the clinic has.

If your doctor or nurse thinks you might have hepatitis B they will also suggest you have a test for this. They will always discuss the tests with you and ask if you agree to have them.

Please do not pass urine (wee or pee) for two hours before your appointment.

If you want, the clinic can code your test results to ensure no one can see your name on them. Or the tests can go under your NHI number, which means that other health professionals who help to care for you will be able to see them.

The clinic can do some tests while you wait, others take 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 also put it in writing. Sometimes they will give you a prescription to take to a chemist. You don't have to pay for treatments that you get while you are actually at the clinic.

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 if you have a specific infection that needs to be followed up quickly, or that they need to test you for to make sure it's gone. Sometimes it is best not to have sex until the results of your follow-up test.

Health advisers

The doctor or nurse may ask you to see a health adviser, 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 is also a chance to talk in a relaxed environment, about anything else affecting your sexual health.

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

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

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers and the Christchurch Hospital Sexual Health Clinic. Last reviewed July 2016.

Page reference: 21685

Review key: HISHC-21685