There are lots of different clinics but there is nothing to be scared about when visiting any of them.
Here’s what someone recently said about visiting a clinic:
“I am a young person and at the age of 16 I went to the GUM Clinic at St. Helier Hospital with a group of friends and a pair of youth workers.
On our way we were laughing and joking about what we were going to do but when we arrived at the clinic the atmosphere changed and everyone became serious to tell the truth.
I was worried about what was going to happen and then I had a chat with one of the nurses and she talked me through what was going to happen and I felt a bit better.
Soon it was my turn to go and have the tests done. As I walked in I was still worried but when I walked out I felt a bit silly if I am honest because it was fine, it didn’t hurt.
Nothing was embarrassing and I think it’s a good thing to go and have done. Not just for your own peace of mind, but also so you know you don’t have to worry about passing on anything to anyone else and also I feel that I am able now to go by myself.”
Male, aged 16
What will happen at the clinic?
You’ll meet with a health advisor for a chat about why you’re there and they’ll tell you what’s going to happen. Check-ups involve the doctor or nurse taking a urine sample, a blood test and sometimes a swab from inside your vagina or the tip of your penis. It won’t be painful, you don’t need to be embarrassed and you won’t be forced into doing any test you don’t want. GUM clinics are friendly, free and confidential, whatever your age. Don’t worry about the clinic contacting your GP because they will not - the service offered by sexual health clinics is always confidential unless you are seriously at risk of harm.
Visit themix.org.uk for more information for young people about sex, relationships and health.
Take a virtual tour of a sexual health (GUM) clinic:
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This video content is displayed with the kind permission of themix.org.uk