For most people, talking about sex and more importantly the sexually transmitted infections is not as easy as one would like it to be. This is one of the main reasons for why STD’s are a bigger health issue than they need to be. Apart from prevention, a pro-active approach towards Sexually Transmitted Infections is key to treating most conditions. If caught in the early stages, most STD’s are quite easy to deal with. However, if unattended for too long, serious complications can arise that are dangerous for both your own and your partner’s health. Complications include infertility, reproductive system cancers, and an increased vulnerability to HIV.
Over the past couple of years in Malta the figures of reported STI’s have increased dramatically, in some cases to alarming heights compared to European averages. The severity of the current situation was illustrated by several reports. One of these studies, coordinated and written by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), reports an increasing trend in Malta since 2007.
Another study, conducted this year, further substantiates this trend reporting alarming statistics. Where HIV-positive cases had quadrupled in 2009, from roughly 10 cases a year to 30 – by summer this year, already 39 cases of HIV have been confirmed. Other STI’s have also increased dramatically in the past few years with 45 cases of Syphilis, 50 cases of Gonorrhea and 109 cases of Chlamydia last year. Specialist Dermato-Venerolog, Dr Valeska Padovese expressed her concerns by saying that most numbers in these reports don’t fully reflect reality, since very often the partner’s registration of the carrier is difficult. Particularly the increase in more common STI’s (Syphilis, Gonorrhea & Chlamydia) is of great concern to her because of the fact that these infections quite often don’t show any symptoms, leading to detection at more advanced stages where serious complications would have arisen and other people might have been infected.
A preventative approach is therefore vitally important when it come s to taking care of your sexual health. Keep in mind that your body won’t always show signs and symptoms, and that’s why we recommend regular STI testing for anyone who is sexually active whether or not they have any symptoms. The list below provides some indicators that make the risk of being infected higher:
- If you had (unprotected) sex with someone you don’t know well
- If you have a change in vaginal discharge. Or if you’re a man, experience penile discharge
- If you’re a experiencing a burning sensation when peeing
- If you have any bumps, lumps or itches in the genital area
At Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre, Ta’ Xbiex, we recently expanded our wide range of health-related services with a GU Clinic. Our STD testing is confidential, accurate, and affordable. We understand that testing can be stressful and that privacy is very important in such matters, therefore we ensure the privacy & confidentiality of our patients throughout the entire process. By offering STD testing and other GU services, including treatment and referrals, in a completely private setting, we hope to make it easier for people who previously felt uncomfortable, to visit a GU Clinic.
Most patients are asked to provide a sample of urine during the visit therefore they are asked not to pass urine for a few hours prior to attending clinic as results may be affected.
Firstly, you will have a consultation with the doctor. During this interview the doctor will need to ask you a number of personal questions in order to assess your general and sexual health and to decide what tests should be offered. Test results will be under a code number to respect anonymity and confidentiality. Our specialist is completely confidential and non-judgmental. The doctor will only ask about, or record, what is relevant.
All tests and procedures will be carefully explained at the time, but please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions or if there is anything that you are concerned about at any point during your visit. Having discussed and agreed which tests to have, the doctor will proceed with the examination.
In the majority of cases the exam includes a physical examination. The doctor will check for any signs of infection, including sores, rashes or discharge. For women, this examination is very similar to the vaginal examination that your gynecologist might perform. Also, if the doctor sees fit, a swab sample or blood is collected to check for specific STI’s.
If samples are taken, it may take up to one week for the results to arrive. The results will then be evaluated by the doctor and communicated with you in the way you find most comfortable, whether this is in person, or by email. In case you tested positive for a certain STI, a follow-up consultation will be scheduled and the doctor will guide you on how to proceed. In the majority of cases, a simple course of medication for you (and possibly your partner) will take care of it. However, always keep in mind that the sooner an STI is diagnosed, the easier it is to deal with it. So avoid complications and get tested sooner rather than later.
For a prompt & confidential appointment please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 21340366
For more information about STI’s and our FAQ on this topic, please visit our dedicated page.