I have received a request via private message to post some information about screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Ireland.
Most of my information is about the Republic, so please forgive the big gaps for those who live in the North.
There are a few things that should be mentioned....
1) If you go to a HSE facility it is free
2) If you got to a HSE facility it is confidential
3) If you go to a HSE facility you will be tested for 21 different STIs
4) If you go to a HSE facility you will get medication you need for free
5) Results usually take between 1-2 weeks
If you decide to go to a private facility or a GP my information wont be of much assistance but i can tell you....
1) You will probably have to pay over 8- euro for the test
2) A good facility will test for 5 different infections, not just one
3) Unless you specifically request it, results will probably be posted to your GP
4) Unless you get a result for something that requires referral to a consultant (HIV, HBV, Syphillis or HCV) you will have to pay for your medication as well.
SO....things that might stop someone from testing....
If the escorts are getting tested i dont need to do i?
Well...some STIs can hang around with no symptoms for years, like chlamydia, so its best to get checked if you ever dipped your wick without a cover.
I am afraid my partner will find out
Go to a HSE GUM/STI/ID facility and give them a false name and a correct telephone number.
Tell them you just need to get checked because you have never done so before and in your youth you had unprotected sex with many people and there was this one time when this guy...you know...they will swab and check every inch of you just to be sure.
HSE facilities do not require you to provide identification of who you are unless you get a positive results for something that requires referral to a consultant...see above....
I haven't had sex with many people, i mainly just fool around
Fooling around is not completely safe. STIs can be transmitted via skin to skin contact or in wet fluid. Think about getting checked anyway.
I dont want to go because i think i have something and if i do they will tell my partner
It is your information and no-one - not even the hospital can past his information onto anyone without your permission. I have clients who are living with HIV, on medication for years and have hidden it from their partners. It is not easy...i would not recommend it...but it is possible. The main thing is that all these infections can be handled if they are detected in time. If not....
I get my bloods done regularly down the doctor, if there was something abnormal or irregular it would show up
Doctors blood screening does not include any tests that might indicate the presence of an STI unless you are unfortunate enough to be living with HIV for years without knowing it and it has decimated your immune system, in which case, your white blood count would be low. For each STI their is a specific test and these are best done in a GUM/STI/ID setting because they get to the lab in good time.
I dont want to go, what if i see someone i know?
You could always chose a private facility. The main thing here is that you would get your car checked every two years to make sure it is safe to drive...why would you not do the same with your body? STI screening could be as normal as going to the dentist or getting your eyes checked if you are brave enough to front it like that.
SO...what does it entail?
AND...where can i go?
Some places are walk in, some need appointments.....
Plus there is GOSHH for Rapid HIV and Syphillis tests (get the big ones out the way) just email me to book one.
And..there is HIV Ireland who do community based screening...http://www.hivireland.ie/what-we-do/free-testing/
So..let the conversation commence