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What Is Involved in a Sexual Health Check?

Article Details
  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A sexual health check involves an examination of a patient's reproductive system as well as testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other conditions that can affect sexual and reproductive health. During a sexual health check, the practitioner may also perform a basic physical exam to evaluate the patient's overall health. If the examination takes place in a sexual health clinic, the patient may be offered counseling and education regarding a variety of reproductive health issues.

The steps taken in a sexual health check differ depending on the gender of the patient as well as the types of tests ordered by the practitioner. Typically, a sexual health check will be performed by a medical doctor, physician assistant, or a family-planning nurse practitioner. In some cases, parts of the examination will be completed by a medical assistant or a nurse. A medical history will be completed so that the health care practitioner has an understanding of the patient's risks and concerns. Some sexual health services may have a policy of taking a patient's blood pressure and other vital signs so as to be able to advise a patient if there appears to be a threat to his overall health.

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During a sexual health check for a female patient, she will typically be given a pelvic exam, a pap smear, and possibly a breast exam. Depending on her sexual health concerns, the practitioner may also perform screenings for STIs and may order a pregnancy test. Male patients will likewise be provided with an examination of their genitals, possibly a prostate exam as well as any necessary STI screenings. Patients of both genders may be offered information on STIs as well as contraceptive services and devices. Female patients may be offered the opportunity to be fitted for a contraceptive device or to receive a prescription for contraceptive pills, and both male and female patients may be offered a supply of condoms and spermicide.

Not all sexual health services are equipped to offer all types of testing, such as those that require the drawing of blood. In such cases, the patient may be referred to an outside lab at which the patient's blood can be drawn and the required tests performed. The sexual health clinic may then provide the test results to the patient along with counseling and, if required, medical care to treat any STIs. If the sexual health clinic is unable to treat a condition, it may refer patients to medical specialists who practice outside the clinic.

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