Good sexual health is important for everyone. It is advisable to get screened regularly for STIs, if you are sexually active. If you show any symptoms of a STI or your partner has an STI, you should get tested straight away and use protection when having sex. This will support you, your partner and your community and help prevent the spread of STIs and any long-term health complications as a result of STI.
Sexual health check-ups are straightforward and painless. Ramsay offers a discreet and professional service to take the worry out of visiting.
What is sexual health?
Sexual health encompasses a wide range of topics related to sex. It includes sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, contraception and family planning, abortion care and sexual and reproductive health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships.
It is important to look after your sexual health as it is an integral part of your overall health, well-being and quality of life.
What is the purpose of sexual health?
Good sexual health is important. If you have poor sexual health this can lead to sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies.
Sexual health helps you choose the method of contraception that suits you best and ensures you know how to use it effectively. This can help to reduce unplanned pregnancies.
If you have STI or HIV symptoms, you should seek advice and testing. It is also important to regularly get screened for STIs and HIV, even if you haven't noticed any changes or symptoms. Sometimes people with a STI or HIV do not have any symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with an STI or HIV, you should advise your sexual partners so that they can get tested. STI and HIV testing helps to reduce the spread of these infectious diseases.
Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics. Some, such as HIV, cannot be cured, but they can be treated to stop them getting any worse. If STIs are left untreated they can affect your health and can cause infertility or serious illness if left untreated.
How can I test my sexual health?
At Ramsay we offer testing for a wide range of STIs. You may be concerned about a specific STI if you are showing symptoms or if you have been advised by a partner that they have it. Alternatively, you might simply want to check your sexual health status.
If you’re sexually active, it is recommended that you regularly get screened for STIs. This means getting a check-up for STIs once a year or every time you change partners (and asking your partner to do the same) or whenever you develop new symptoms. If you’re a man who has unprotected sex with new or casual male partners, you should test for HIV and STIs every three months.
The main types of STI are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, HIV and hepatitis syphilis. These STI’s can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Ramsay offers individual tests for STIs or combinations of those that are most common or for those you are most concerned about.
You may also be able to access sexual health services and advice at NHS sexual health clinics, your GP, some pharmacies, young peoples’ services and online and private clinics.
STI tests are relatively straightforward and painless. Tests involve taking a blood sample, a swab or urine sample. These samples are then analysed in a laboratory. Ramsay has a high standard of testing and an efficient turnaround of results.
How do I maintain my sexual health?
There are ways you can help to maintain good sexual health. These include:
- talking openly to your partner sex, including your and their sexual relationships and sexual health
- using appropriate contraception to prevent any unplanned pregnancies
- using condoms and dental dams to reduce your risk of STIs during penetrative and oral sex
- getting tested for sexually transmitted infections regularly and if you think you may have put yourself at risk
- limiting your alcohol consumption as large quantities can have a negative impact on men and women’s sexual capacities, lower inhibitions, and affect decision making
- limiting the number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.
How do you check you are sexually healthy?
To check you are sexually healthy you should have regular STI tests and be aware of STI symptoms so that you can recognise them if you experience them.
There are certain characteristics of a sexually healthy person that include:
- making safe and reliable efforts to prevent unintended pregnancy and STIs, and seeking care and treatment when they are needed.
- understanding that sexuality is a natural part of someone’s life.
- recognising that everyone has sexual rights.
- having access to sex education, information, and resources to care for your sexual health issues.
- experiencing sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when you desire those experiences.
- ·openly communicating about your sexual health and needs with intimate partners and healthcare providers when needed.
What is the cost of a sexual health check-up?
The costs of a sexual health check-up will depend on a number of factors. These include the exact STI test or combination of STIs you require, and your Ramsay hospital of choice.
You will receive a formal quotation price for your STI test or package once you have decided which STI tests you would like. This formal quote will be valid for 60 days.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. STD screenings for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis are considered to be preventative in nature and are covered by insurance companies most of the time but there are some exceptions. All insurance plans cover HIV testing for everyone between the ages of 15 and 65 or those who are at a high risk for HIV. We advise that you check with and obtain written confirmation from your insurance provider prior to proceeding with your STI health check-up.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your STI tests yourself. These include:
• Interest-free finance – 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments.
• All-inclusive Total Care – a one-off pre-agreed payment for complete reassurance.
• Pay as you go – flexible funding to pay as and when costs arise. Often used if costs are difficult to assess.
What is the recovery process after a Sexual Health?
Sexual health treatment involves antibiotics or anti-viral drugs.
You should complete your antibiotic treatment prescription for STIs including chlamydia and gonorrhoea. It is also important to abstain from sex until seven days after completing your antibiotic treatment and when any sores have healed.
If you have herpes or HIV, you'll be prescribed an antiviral drug. Treatment for HIV is ongoing with HIV drugs being taken every day. Herpes antiviral medicine is taken with the first and subsequent outbreaks.
Sexual health at Ramsay Health Care
At Ramsay Health Care, we offer a comprehensive range of sexual health services. We provide rapid access to clinical advice, sexual health screening and STI testing, and appropriate treatment if required.
Whether you are concerned about a specific STI or you want to check your sexual health status, we offer a series of checks designed to meet your needs.
Our service is friendly, discreet and fully confidential, delivered by our team of experienced doctors. We aim to provide peace of mind to our patients and advice on treatment if required.