This men’s health week, remember your sexual health.
There are very few amongst us who can say they don’t worry or get stressed, quite often worry and stress can be worse than facing up to and dealing with a situation. Unfortunately, sexual health is one of the areas where men worry but often do very little to help themselves.,
Sexual health stress – Not getting tested won’t mean you don’t have an STI, it just means if you have one you won’t know about it.
Firstly, it is always good to be aware of your health status, we get our eyes checked regularly, we go to the dentist (well when in my case when we absolutely have to) but when it comes to a sexual health checkup, there seems to be stigma and fear around the whole process. As we all know fear leads to stress and anxiety, which is not good for our mental and physical wellbeing. Getting tested regularly has many benefits:
- Testing can build confidence, knowing that the sex you’re having is healthy and fun, without the worry and fear that you may have passed on an STi.
- Testing can give you peace of mind. It is the only way you can know for sure if you have HIV or an STI. – Treatment is available for HIV. It works better the sooner you take it, it can dramatically prolong the lives of many people who are living with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others.
- If you know you have HIV or an STI, you can protect your partner or partners from becoming infected or by using condoms.
- If you have HIV or an STI, you can help your partner get tested. If he or she tests positive, the sooner they get treated, the healthier they will be.
What is rapid point-of-care HIV testing?
Gone are the days of a device being inserted into the penis (you can uncross your legs now). It’s actually quite straightforward and simple. Rapid point-of-care HIV testing is a method of testing that allows people to be tested for HIV and receive their results during the same visit. It just requires a finger-prick blood test. Rapid tests can be performed anywhere, unlike standard tests which rely on blood samples that are analyzed in a lab. A rapid test looks for antibodies to HIV in the blood, rather than looking for the virus itself. It can take up to three months from the time of an exposure to HIV for the test to detect antibodies in a person’s blood. This is called the window period. However, most people develop enough HIV antibodies for a rapid test to be accurate before the end of the window period. A person can be tested earlier and should not wait for the end of the window period to be tested. However, if a person tests negative within the window period they should be retested at the end of the three-month window period. So get into a routine, you do it with the dentist!
One of the key features of rapid tests is that they can return results within minutes. We at Birmingham LGBT offer pre- and post-testing support along with the test, which means that the appointment may last as long as you need.
Rapid tests are screening tests. This means that some results cannot be considered definitive. For example, if a test is negative, also called non-reactive, and the client is potentially in the window period, another blood-based test may be needed to confirm the result. In addition, if the rapid test is positive or called a reactive result, the client is encouraged to get a confirmatory test. Confirmatory tests are done through a blood sample taken after the reactive result has been given to the client. The blood sample is sent to a lab. This is often done at a hospital or GU clinic. You can contact the sexual health team and come in at any time during our opening hours for Point Of Care Test.
Thursday Drop in Clinic
Birmingham LGBT now offers a free, confidential symptomatic clinic every Thursday. You do not need to be referred from elsewhere, just turn up.
You can be tested for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, access a full range of sexual health
information and more. Our nurse-led services are delivered by experienced, professional and non-judgemental staff.
The clinic opens at 12pm, last slot for “walk-in” patients is at 6.30pm. The clinic operates on a “first come first served” basis
The Umbrella clinic service includes:
- Testing for most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Rapid HIV tests
- Hepatitis B screening and vaccinations.
- Sexual health advice/ information
- Free condoms & Lube