Sexual Health Checks

At Redbank Medical Centre, we can assist you with sexual health. When you’re sexually active, it’s important to keep an eye on your sexual health. Our GPs are excellent listeners and are extremely understanding of any situation - you can rest assured that there will be no judgement and your confidentiality will be protected.

If you are sexually active, it’s important you visit a doctor regularly to have sexual health checks, even if you feel nervous about it. Remember that you're not alone in feeling this way. At the check-ups, you'll be able to discuss your sexual and reproductive health and rights issues. Sexual health checks can involve:

  • tests – e.g. for STIs, pap smears (for women), or sexual dysfunction.

  • discussing contraception – including long term contraception options

  • reproductive issues

  • discussing your rights in sexual relationships. 

 

Anyone who is sexually active should have sexual health check-ups, but how often and when depends on your lifestyle and sexual activity. A sexual health check is really recommended if the following circumstances apply to you:

  • if you think you might have an STI

  • if you’ve had unsafe sex, including vaginal, oral and anal sex

  • if a condom broke or fell off during sex

  • if you or your partner have more than one sexual partners

  • if you’ve shared injecting equipment

  • if you’re at the start of a new sexual relationship.

Why get a check up?

When you're getting an STI check, your doctor will ask you some questions. If it's your first time at that particular medical clinic, this usually starts off with some general health questions.

After this, your doctor will ask you about your sexual history. Some of these questions can be quite personal, so it's good to know ahead of time what you may be asked. It's important to answer these questions as honestly as possible; if you feel unsure or uncomfortable at any time, mention this to your doctor. 

Keep in mind, your doctor isn't asking these questions to be nosy or to judge you – these questions are part of every STI check. The doctor is working out what your risk is and which tests might be needed for your individual situation.

These questions may include:

  • Have you had an STI check in the past? When was your last check?

  • In the past six months, how many people have you had sex with?

  • Do you have sex with men? Do you have sex with women? Do you have sex with both? Do have sex with transgender people?

  • Do you have vaginal sex? Do you have oral sex? Do you have anal sex?

  • Do you use contraception? How often do you use condoms? 

  • Do you have any symptoms? Many STIs are silent – they don't cause symptoms – but some women can experience painful sex, painful urination, a difference in vaginal discharge, or bleeding.

  • When was your last period? Was it a normal period?

  • Have you injected drugs?

  • Do you have any tattoos or body piercings?

The Process

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections or diseases that are passed on during unprotected sex with an infected partner. This includes vaginal, anal or oral sex. Some STIs can be passed on by just skin-to-skin contact. Some common STIs are listen below.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia (bacterial) affects both men and women, and it's spread by having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with a person who has the infection.

Most people who have chlamydia don't notice any symptoms. Research suggests that half of men and 8 in 10 women don't get symptoms at all with a chlamydia infection.

 

Symptoms of chlamydia: 

  • pain when you urinate

  • an unusual discharge from the penis, vagina or rectum

  • bleeding between periods or after sex.

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Testing for chlamydia is done with a urine test for men or a women have a urine test or a swab taken from the cervix or vagina. 

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. If it isn't treated, the infection can sometimes spread to other parts of your body and lead to serious long-term health problems

Watch this video for further information.

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which is sometimes called 'the clap'. Most females and some males have no symptoms at all, so you don't know when you have it or when your partner has it.


Signs and symptoms: 

  • Most males get a yellow discharge from the penis and a burning sensation when passing urine.

  • Most females have no symptoms at all. Some may notice unusual vaginal discharge, pain when passing urine and lower belly pain.Both males and females may have a sore throat.

If gonorrhoea is left untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in females and infertility in males and females. PID is when the infection spreads into a woman's reproductive organs and may cause infertility (which means you can't have a baby). Gonorrhoea can also cause a condition which gives males very sore testes (balls). If a woman is pregnant and has gonorrhoea it can seriously affect her baby

Genital Herpes

Herpes are blisters or sores on the genitals. They are caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Type 1 or Type 2. HSV Type 1 is more common on the mouth (cold sores) and HSV Type 2 on the genitals. Both viruses can infect the mouth and genital area. Herpes is very common in Australia.

Although herpes sores heal, the virus stays in the nerves of the infected area of skin, so you can have more outbreaks. The first outbreak is usually the worst. Outbreaks after that should happen less often and be less painful. Some people can have very frequent episodes, some only occasionally, and some people can have the virus without having any blisters at all.

Signs and symptoms:
Many people with genital herpes don't know they have it because they have no symptoms when they are first infected. Later on, people may notice:


  • painful, tingling or itching blisters or ulcers around the genital area

  • aching muscles and fever

HIV and AIDS

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system and weakens the body's natural way to fight infections.

 

Soon after getting HIV infection, some people may feel as if they have the flu. They may have a fever, headache, tiredness and a rash. Others may not. Sometimes people start getting illnesses years after they first get infected. People with HIV can look and feel healthy. Many people don't realise they have it because they don't feel or see anything wrong. If a person has a blood test to check if they have HIV, it can sometimes take up to three months (after infection) for the virus to show up on the blood test.

If left untreated, HIV can cause AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), a syndrome which occurs when the body's immune system is damaged and cannot fight off infections and cancer. 

Thrush

Thrush is not often passed on through sex, but it's included here because it's very common. Thrush is a fungal infection that mainly affects females. It is caused when there is an overgrowth of fungus called Candida.

 

Signs and symptoms:

  • White and cheesy-looking discharge.

  • Stinging pain while passing urine.

  • Pain or discomfort during sex.

  • Itchy and swollen genitals

Risk factors:

Thrush is not usually spread by sexual contact, but it can be spread between partners, and sex can make it worse.


Treatment
Tablets and creams are available from the chemist without a prescription. If these treatments don't work a doctor can provide further advice.

STIs

The law requires that consultations with your doctor or any health professional are confidential, though there are situations where they can be required to report information if they have serious concerns about you or someone else's safety. For example they may need to break confidentiality if someone is at risk of seriously harming themselves or somebody else, or if they suspect a young person is being subjected to physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
 
If you are unsure what a doctor will have to report, then you need to ask them what they are required to report and who they will have to report to. If it is worrying you it is a good idea to ask at the beginning of the consultation.
 
When you turn 16 years old you have the same right to confidentiality as an adult. More information on the law and people under 18 is available at Lawstuff.

Confidentiality

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8/59, Brisbane Road, Redbank QLD 4301