How embarrassed do you feel about visiting a sexual health clinic? If the answer is “a lot,” you are not alone. While many official campaigns have been launched to stress on the importance of personal responsibility in the realm of reproductive health, there’s still a ton of social stigma in Singapore.
Fear and prejudice still affect the way people with STDs are viewed in Singapore. According to a Channel News Asia report, the stigma linked to conditions like HIV remains even among medical health professionals like nurses and students.
Luckily, many opportunities for change exist.
If you are eager to be in control of your sexual health, you can easily visit a STD clinic in Singapore. Various services can be accessed in such a facility – from simple consultations on prevention to thorough screening panels for various STDs.
If you’ve never visited a Singaporean sexual health clinic before and you wonder what to expect, the following guide will give you the essentials and some peace of mind.
Do I Need an Appointment to Visit a Singaporean Sexual Health Clinic?
The answer to that question depends on where you are going.
Many reputable facilities in Singapore like Shim Clinic are classified as walk-in clinics. This means you don’t need an appointment in order to go. Just check the working hours and select a time that’s convenient.
You may still want to call in advance if you have questions about a specific procedure or type of consultation. Calling will also inform you about the cost of services, the payment methods and the other administrative essentials you’ll need to keep in mind.
Can I Count on Privacy and Confidentiality?
This is probably the biggest question that Singaporeans ask and the one that keeps them from visiting a sexual health clinic. After all, the prospects of others finding out about an STD can be terrifying (and the consequences of such an occurrence will definitely be life-altering). Like all other medical facilities in Singapore, sexual health clinics adhere to very strict ethical standards.
Consultations and STD testing take place in a completely confidential manner. This means that your medical record remains between you and the professional responsible for your consultation or treatment at the clinic. You are free to disclose all kinds of sensitive and personal information that pertain to the reason for visiting the clinic. In fact, providing such information is essential. It will help for the selection of the right testing option or treatment plan.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions before revealing anything about yourself. If you need additional information to put your mind at ease, you should definitely inquire before moving forward with other aspects of the consultation.
What Will Happen During the Consultation Itself?
A good clinic usually has a medical doctor on premises who’ll ask you to go to one of the treatment or consultation rooms. There, you’ll have a one-on-one chat about the reason for your visit.
Be prepared to provide information about your sexual practices, whether you’ve been tested before and what the results were. If you are on any medication for an STI at the moment, you should give that information, as well.
Sexual health clinics are usually visited for a couple of reasons. Most people will go in for a consultation about their sexual health or for a test. Some may also need a refill. Singaporean sexual health clinics are staffed by professionals who can handle all three of these processes.
If you don’t know exactly what you need, a recommendation will be made on the basis of your current health status and sexual history.
Most of the Singaporean clinics offer quick testing options for some of the most common STDs.
At Shim Clinic, for example, you can get a 20-minute HIV test and a couple of additional STD screening options. These clinics also offer emergency preventative options like HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in the event of an accident like condom breakage or unprotected sex.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get into some detail about your sexual history. Use simple words to explain the situation and your worries. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for the treating physician to recommend a course of action that makes sense.
What Happens Next?
The next thing that would happen depends on the reason for your visit.
If you get a quick test (like the rapid HIV test that takes about 20 minutes), you’ll need to wait at the facility for a short period of time to get your result. Depending on the outcome, you’ll either be recommended some safety practices or you’ll be referred for additional testing/treatment. In the event of a comprehensive screening panel that produces results within a few days, you’ll probably be asked to go back to the clinic after that period is over.
Most of the time, you will not be charged for a second consultation when you go in for the results. This is considered a follow-up appointment that’s included in the overall package.
If you need to go through further testing, some additional charges may apply. Don’t hesitate to ask about these specifics during your first consultation. This way, you can prepare better both in terms of finances and timeline planning.
Please understand the fact there’s nothing scary or embarrassing about visiting a sexual health clinic. It’s just like going to the doctor for any other problem you may have. Don’t postpone the consultation and don’t hesitate about it. Going to a clinic will give you peace of mind and a chance to address issues quickly and effectively.