Sexual health clinics specialize in the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
Sexual health clinics differ from reproductive health and family planning clinics. Sexual health clinics offer only some reproductive health services. Reproductive health clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, offer most of the services of sexual health clinics.
Sexual health clinics provide some or all of the following:
Many clinics provide vaccinations to prevent infections from the hepatitis A and B viruses. Young women may receive vaccinations to prevent infection from some strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Many clinics provide interpreting for the hearing impaired or speakers of other languages.
Many clinics will help patients tell their sexual contacts if they have a sexually transmitted infection, anonymously if needed.
Public governmental and non-profit clinics often provide services for free or adjust the fee based on a patient's ability to pay.
Sexual health clinics often offer services without appointments. Some clinics open evenings or weekends.
In a private room or space, the patient will partially undress.
The clinician may inspect the patient's:
The clinician may swab the patient's:
The inspections and taking samples don't hurt, but swabbing the urethra and cervix, and a finger prick blood sample feel uncomfortable.
Women will often receive a pelvic exam, both external and internal, but usually less thorough than a reproductive health exam.
A patient can choose a female or male clinician if available. A patient can have a chaperone. Some clinics have separate hours or facilities for men and women.
Additional privacy protections sometimes apply to matters of sexuality and reproduction, since these areas are sensitive in many cultures.
In the United States, clinics receiving federal funding from Medicaid or Title X of the Public Health Service Act must treat all patients confidentially. Thus minors can receive services without parental notification or consent.
Medical standards of informed consent apply to sexual health clinics. A patient needs information about the purposes and consequences of examinations, tests, treatments, and other procedures. A patient may then choose whether to consent to these procedures.
A minor may consent to receive some or all of the procedures at many sexual health clinics.