Last Updated on March 24, 2021 by Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR
This guest post was written anonymously after the author experienced both of the STD testing services outlined below.
So, for whatever reason you realize it’s STD testing time (and let’s face it, there are loads of great reasons) and you are in the UK, what do you do?
How To Get STD Testing in the UK
Well, here’s what I did.
As with anything I need these days, I started with Google where I typed in that I needed an STD testing and various options came up…..
Option 1: NHS
NHS treatment is available to UK residents, and EU residents with a valid EHIC card and it’s free.
Many hospitals have a clinic called a GUM (genito and urinary medicine) clinic where you go for testing. Your own doctor may not do all or any STD testing. Most of the GUM clinics have a web page and there is a mix of walk-in and set appointments at various times in the week, so you can choose which is right for you.
I made an appointment, but it still took me 20 mins to be seen.
The first thing they asked me to do was fill in a form with my name, address, date of birth and doctor’s name. I asked why as I thought that all testing was anonymous, but they said they liked to have the forms filled in.
The waiting room was a bit sparse and there were a lot of people looking at the floor – we all knew why we were there.
Then I had an appointment with the nurse who asked me why I had come and asked me questions about my sex life (who, what, when) and said that I could be tested for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and she could also examine me for any uncertain blemishes ‘down there’.
I asked if I could be tested for herpes, but she said that I could only be tested if I had a blister. I wanted to know whether the mouth sores I’d had were herpes or not, but she said that wasn’t possible with NHS testing.
So, samples were taken, and I was told that if I didn’t hear back from them in two weeks, then I could assume they were all negative.
Next time STD test time came around, I wondered about some of the other options Google came up with…
Option 2: Better2Know (5% discount with coupon ‘STI Project’) & Private STD Testing Clinics
Wanting faster results and not having to stare at other people in the GUM clinic, I entered the world of private medicine at www.better2know.co.uk (mention ‘STI Project’ and receive a 5% discount on all testing services) where they promised fast results and complete anonymity.
They have loads of clinics across the UK.
You can go in (most people there are having a mole removed or some other treatment, which means they don’t know why you are there at all), see a doctor, and get your results back – HIV lab tests come back the next day!
I was in London, so I chose to go to their facility on Wimpole Street (near Baker Street tube). There you can choose to see a doctor once you have got your results.
So, all I had to do was book and pay in advance, and I could use any name I liked!
I went to Wimpole Street on a Saturday morning, gave my new name, and waited for a few minutes for a nurse to take my blood and urine samples (ok, I managed the urine without the help of a nurse), and that was that – no sex questions, no awkward counting of days and partners – all done.
Just four days later, I got a phone call with all of my STD testing results (and I’d been tested for the four that the NHS test for plus herpes – I was negative), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. I was then asked if I wanted to see a doctor, which, I didn’t feel the need to, and that was it – all there was to it.
I had my results emailed to me, so I could see for myself that I was negative.
Better2know was a bit more money, but it was worth it for the fast results and not having to sit hiding behind a magazine in the waiting room in case someone recognized me.
I know where I will be going should there be a next time….
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This guest post was written anonymously by a woman living in the UK after she experienced both of the services outlined above.
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What do you think about this guest poster’s experience? Have you had a similar experience? Do you prefer one service over another? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
- Information about STD Testing
- Find a free clinic via NHS
- Find Better2know Clinic – mention ‘STI Project’ for 5% off
- Use the FPA’s tool to find STD testing (not mentioned in the above post)
- When to Get Tested Based on Testing Windows
- Think You Might Have an STD? Your Ultimate Reference Guide
- What It’s Like to Get Tested – the Executive Director’s Story
- Is There an Age Limit for Sexual Health? Written by Better2Know’s Anthea Morris