If you suspect that you may have contracted an STI, you will likely require the services of an STI clinic. Traditionally, a UK STI clinic, also known as a GUM clinic or a sexual health clinic, was a physical clinic - often part of a doctor's surgery - that specialised in sexual health. Though these still exist and remain fairly popular, it is now possible to visit online STI clinics which provide the same service, just in a more streamlined and private way. With online STD clinics, you do not need to worry about the embarrassment of discussing your sex life in person with a doctor.
LabsDirect operates as an online STI clinic / STD clinic in the UK where you can buy a range of STI home tests, including a Full STI Screen Test, chlamydia test, gonorrhoea test and genital herpes test, safely and securely and with no embarrassment or inconvenience.
You can visit an STI clinic if you think you have caught an STI, or simply if you have questions about an aspect of sexual health. Many STI clinics provide free condoms to promote safe sex. You will usually need to make an appointment if you wish to visit an STI clinic, though some clinics offer a "drop-in" option.
If you require an STI test, you will need to discuss your sexual history with a doctor or nurse when you visit the clinic, including what, if any, symptoms you are experiencing and whether you have had unprotected sex. Based on this information, the doctor or nurse will recommend which tests they think you may need.These tests could require:
The majority of bacterial STIs only require a urine sample, though some viral STIs such as HIV require a blood sample, which can only be administered by a qualified healthcare professional.
The time it takes for you to receive your results can vary from several days to a couple of weeks. You are usually able to choose how you would like to receive your results, for example by telephone or through the post.
An online clinic has the advantage of providing almost the same service as that of a physical STI clinic without the need to talk to anyone in person. Most online STI clinics, like LabsDirect, will have informational pages for you to visit regarding different STIs, so you can find the information you need if you have a specific question. They will also offer a range of home STI tests, enabling you to take the test you need in the privacy of your own home.
These home STI tests can be delivered to your door and will include the kit you need to either provide a urine sample or take a swab. You will usually then need to send the relevant sample that you have taken to the laboratory which is partnered with the online STD clinic. Your results will then either be emailed to you or made available online for you to view. This entire process will be completely secure and confidential, and anything posted to you will be done so in unmarked packaging.
Online clinics are not able to test for certain STIs which require either a blood test (such as HIV) or a genital examination (such as genital warts). You will need to visit a sexual health clinic in order for you to be examined by a doctor. Though online clinics usually offer what is known as a Full STI Screen test, which can detect seven of the most common STIs, it is not possible for it to detect every single STI. The only way to do this is to undergo a full examination by a registered doctor.