Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the Your SHiP clinic?

The clinic is near the multi-story car park (BIRCHAM PARK). There are two entrances to the clinic. The outside entrance is down the road that goes under the hospital and on the right. The inside door is through the hospital entrance signed "Maternity & Women's Service; Entrance (8)". Go inside, turn left then right and go down the corridor. Follow signs "Your Sexual Health in Plymouth". You will find the Your SHiP clinic on your left by the lifts. At both entrances, ring the buzzer on the left to be let in. The clinic is on level 5, Zone D (orange zone). Click here to see our map. 

How long do I have to wait?

Patients with appointments should be seen within 10 minutes of that time but sometimes you may have to wait longer.  We recommend that you allow 1 hour for your appointment visit.

If you are attending the walk-in and wait clinic, your wait time will vary depending on how many other patients have arrived. The average wait time is 30 minutes but can be longer if we are really busy.  Please attend as early as possible. Allow up to 2 hours for a walk-in visit. We are sorry for any delay, but the clinic will get busy at peak times. 

How long do I have to wait for results?

All results will be texted or phoned within 2 weeks of your appointment. If you have not heard from us within 2 weeks contact the clinic on: 01752 431124.

In certain circumstances we can request same day HIV test results, but this is subject to an assessment of need. If you have concerns, ask your doctor, nurse or health advisor. 

How long do I have to wait after having sex to have my sexual infection screen?

It can take up to 2 weeks for a chlamydia infection to be detectable. Book an appointment two weeks after the sexual episode that troubles you.

It can take up to a month for HIV to be detectable in your blood test. If you are concerned about HIV, wait one month. If you attend earlier, the test will have to be repeated after 1 month. 

Who will I see in the clinic?

If you have no symptoms, you will seen by a nurse or health care assistant. The nurse will ask about your situation and do a sexual health screen which is appropriate to your needs. If you have symptoms that might indicate a sexual infection or need an examination you will be seen by a nurse or a doctor. If we find you have sexual infection or you have any other concern about sexual health you can talk to a health advisor. 

Can I choose what nurse or doctor I will see?

You can see a female or male doctor or nurse if you choose. Please tell the receptionist when you arrive, or say this on the phone when you book an appointment. However, most of our staff are female, so we cannot always find a male doctor or nurse to see you. 

What if my sexual partner is diagnosed with an infection?

If your partner has an sexual infection caused by a bacteria you will be offered treatment for this infection at your clinic visit. Examples are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) or trichomonas vaginalis. It is important that you find out what infection your partner has been diagnosed with and what treatment he, or she, has had. You will not need to wait for results from your tests. We will advise you not to have sex for a given period after your treatment. 

Who will be in the room if I need an examination?

A doctor or nurse will do a genital examination if you need one. You will be offered the opportunity to have another nurse or health care assistant there as a chaperone. 

Do you still use "the umbrella"?

No, we do not. The umbrella has not been used for over 50 years. Most men need only provide a urine sample. If a sample is needed from the tip of the urethra this is taken with a very small cotton bud. The urethra is the tube where urine and semen come out. 

Will I have to pay for treatment?

No. Treatment is free. 

I took my own swab in the clinic. Will the result be accurate?

This test is used to look for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. It is very sensitive, and accurate. The test is as just as accurate if you do it or the doctor or nurse does it. If you do not want to take your own sample, we will do it for you. 

I had unprotected sex with somebody who may be is HIV positive. What should I do?

Come and see us as soon as possible, within 72 hours if you can. We can give you post exposure prophylaxis. This is a 28 day course of anti HIV drugs to prevent HIV infection. This may not be necessary, but we will need to talk to you to assess your risk. If the GUM clinic is closed, go to the Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital for this treatment. 

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