The role of the Health Adviser

What is a Health Adviser?

Health advisers form part of the sexual health care team and are responsible for a number of different aspects of sexual health care including:

  • Giving information, advice and support on sexual health matters or concerns, either in clinic or over the phone.
  • Giving information and advice about STIs, HIV and contraception.
  • Managing results when a sexual infection is diagnosed and arranging for people to attend for information and treatment.
  • Discussing the process and options for informing a sexual partner who may also be affected by an STI or HIV so they can get tested and treated too.
  • Working with people to reduce risks and promote a healthy sexual life.

We can be contacted at The Centre on 01392 284960

Confidentiality

Our sexual health and contraception services are confidential - even for those aged under 16 years old

No-one can access our patient records apart from staff working in our clinics.

All of our tests are sent away under a clinic number and patient's date of birth, so no-one outside of our service will know about tests performed or be able to access test results - this includes GPs, hospital clinics, school nurses, etc.

We do not routinely share information about clinic attendances with anyone else unless you want us to. It can be helpful sometimes for us to work with GP's and other services and let them know about care we have given or treatments we have supplied - however we would never do this without checking with you first.

If we had concerns about a person's safety we may need to share this information with another professional. However we would try to let the person know that we were going to do this, as long as it is safe for us to do so. Please see our Safeguarding section for more information.

If you have concerns about confidentiality, please talk to a member of staff who will be able to answer your questions.

We take confidentiality very seriously and all of our staff are trained in managing difficult confidential situations.

What happens in a consultation?

What will happen when I visit the clinic for a check-up?

For most women this is a very quick and easy process. Here is a short guide to help you know what to expect!

  • A doctor or nurse will call you into a consulting room to have a quick chat. They’ll ask you some questions about symptoms and what sorts of things you’ve been up to so that they can decide which tests you need. Some people find this embarrassing but the doctor or nurse will have heard it all before! Remember, it’s all confidential.
  • If you don’t have any symptoms, all you’ll need are a blood test and a vaginal swab test that you can take yourself. You’ll be given instructions about how you do this – don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as putting in a tampon!
  • If you do have symptoms sometimes the doctor or nurse will recommend that you have swabs taken by them. This involves getting on an examining couch and having a speculum test like you would for a smear at your GP practice. This takes about 10 minutes -- then they might ask you to wait afterwards for some preliminary results.
  • By doing these extra swabs we sometimes find out that what’s causing your symptoms isn’t an STI at all but something called ‘bacterial vaginosis’ or ‘thrush’ (see back of booklet) and can give you some treatment straight away.
  • That’s it! Your full set of results will usually be ready within two weeks (and if something’s positive it’s often sooner than this). You’ll be given instructions about how to get your results before you leave the clinic.

Remember! Everything you do and say from the moment you walk through the door is completely confidential and the staff will always treat you with respect.

Most men can have tests for STIs done on a urine and blood sample these days.

If you have no symptoms you don’t need to be examined or have a swab - just a urine test and a blood test is recommended. This means you get tested for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV, Syphilis and sometimes Hepatitis too (depending on your partners and any other risks you may have taken).

If you have a strange discharge coming from your penis or stinging or burning when you pee, a swab taken in a sexual health clinic can give you some results in just a few minutes. We don't use 'umbrellas' , wires or any other implements of torture you may have heard about from your friends ! Having the swab taken is a bit uncomfortable for a few seconds but it really is OK having it done - and it means we can usually solve your problem and give you results and treatment there and then.

How do I get my test results?

When you attend for sexual health tests we want to ensure that we can contact you about your results. This will be discussed with you at your appointment.

You need to allow 10 days for your results to come through.

Unless you specifically ask us not to, we ALWAYS let you know the results - even if everything is OK.Normally results are sent via text, letter, email or a phone call.

Occasionally some people like to make a follow-up appointment for their results - either because they are very worried, or because we may need to check symptoms or review the care you have been given to check things are now OK.

We cannot give your results to a third party - e.g. a partner or parent, unless you specifically give us permission to do so. We also do not share your results with GPs or any other hospital department, unless this has been agreed with you beforehand.

If any of your tests show an infection we will usually try and call you or send you a text asking you to call and speak to one of the Nurse Advisers. We will give you information over the phone about what the result means and what you need to do next - usually pop back in to clinic to collect treatment. During this call we will be able to answer any questions or worries you may have.

If you have had tests taken in our Exeter, Exmouth, Tiverton or Okehampton clinics and want to check your results or update your contact details for receiving your results, please call and speak to our Results Co-ordinator Alison Davey on 01392 284950.

If you have had tests taken in our Barnstaple, Bideford, Ilfracombe and Holsworthy clinics, please call 01271 341562.

Patient satisfaction survey

Results coming soon !

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