By Nick Baker | @bicknaker


Depending on your attitude to sex and hook-ups, or if you have an insatiable sex drive, we might all disagree if there are just some occasions where checking your apps isn’t quite appropriate for the situation.

Waiting for the bus? Cruising Sainsbury’s at lunchtime? Definitely OK. At the pub with those friends who you only see three times a year because it is always impossible to arrange anything? Could come off as a bit rude. Sunday lunch with Mum and Dad? Maybe put your phone down.

Sex shaming feeds the stigma around STIs and fear of being seen at the clinic, all contribute to people not going to get tested. So, is the clinic waiting room a good place to go on the apps?

The short answer is yes. You’re either checking up or you’re getting treated, both are great. Especially as unless you’re that one weird person who doesn’t keep their phone on silent all the time, then nobody is going to hear the *brrrrump* anyway.

What reasons would someone, and this includes you in this situation, be at the clinic anyway, and does this change whether/when you might hook up?

1) A ROUTINE CHECK-UP

Great. You’re both taking responsibility for your sexual health and getting tested.

If it does turn out that either of you have an STI then you will be quickly called back for treatment and help. Hook-up wise, business as usual.

2) GETTING AN STI TREATED

Unlucky but at least you have been tested and depending on how early it is there are many options for treatment.

Bacterial infections like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. With effective treatment for HIV the virus can be kept under control and become undetectable, which means it can’t be transmitted through sex. Condoms can prevent the transmission of STIs but it is advised to avoid sex until treatments like antibiotics have worked, so you might not be looking for right now.

3) GETTING VACCINATED

Getting vaccinated against Hepatitis B or HPV? Also great! Very clued up person here.

4) GETTING PEP

Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a course of medicine that can prevent you becoming HIV-positive if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus.

You can get it from A&E departments and sexual health clinics.

5) GETTING PrEP

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. An HIV-negative person takes pills (developed to treat people with HIV) regularly to reduce their risk of HIV infection, and several studies show that PrEP works.

It’s available for free in Scotland, and expanded trials are running in England and Wales or you can legally buy it online. People taking PrEP should be getting tested regularly (normally every three months) so if they have picked up an STI then it will get treated quickly. This person is actively engaged with looking after their sexual health and enjoying sex without the fear of HIV. Looking? Go for it.  


Find out where to get tested at www.gmfa.org.uk/clinics


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