Going to a sexual health clinic can be unnerving for anyone and it may be particularly difficult for trans people. But if you think you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) it's important to get it diagnosed and treated.
You may feel awkward talking to staff about your sexual health, but you'll need to let them know your history so that they can diagnose you correctly, especially if you need an examination. It may be helpful to let the doctors and nurses looking after you know how you would like to be addressed.
When you arrive at the clinic, you may find there is a male and female waiting room. It’s important that you feel comfortable sitting in the female area. When you arrive you'll have to speak to the receptionist and fill in some details – you could mention your history on the form so that the doctor is able to treat you correctly. However, if you prefer, you can wait until you're in your consultation with the clinician to disclose.
Find your nearest GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinic.
It might be necessary for the nurse or doctor to examine your genital area to diagnose you, or they may need to take swabs. This may be a distressing prospect for you. If this is the case try to discuss your feelings with the person treating you. It might be possible for you to take the swabs yourself, or the doctor might decide an examination isn’t necessary. It could be that they will need to examine you - this may be the only way to get the correct treatment for your symptoms.
It’s important that all the staff in the clinic treat you with dignity and respect. If you feel at any time that this hasn’t happened, it may be worth making a complaint or talking to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at the hospital.
Some areas have sexual health clinics for trans people. Contact THT Direct to find out what’s available where you live.
There is a sexual health clinic in London called cliniQ which is just for trans people, their partners, friends, and family:
Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, 56 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 6AQ
Brighton has a trans clinic too. It's called Clinic T:
Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 5BE