Southdowns Private healthcare offers discrete and personal sexual health screening.

We offer full screens and individual tests depending on your circumstances and can tailor these as you require.

Instant Tests are completed whilst you are with the doctor and results can take as little as 10 minutes

Confidential Sexual Health Testing

Find out more about the infections we can test for

Find out more about the conditions and when it is possible to test for them.

The Tests available are listed below

Often referred to as the silent epidemic, chlamydia  is the most common STI among under-25s. Since 1999, reported cases have doubled, and in 2008 there were a record 123,018 new diagnoses in the NHS’s GUM clinics. The Family Planning Association (FPA)estimates that one in 10 sexually active young people are currently infected.

Caused by a tiny bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis , chlamydia is picked up and passed on through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, as well as through sharing sex toys with an infected person. It affects both sexes, and can infect the cervix, urethra, anus, throat and, very rarely, the eyes.

Chlamydia was acknowledged as an STI in 1963 when it was recognised as a bacteria rather than a virus. However, unlike the more cringe-worthy bacterial STIs, such as gonorrhoea and syphilis, chlamydia was largely ignored over the decades due to its lack of obvious symptoms. As a result, many people went undiagnosed for years.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

The scary fact is that most infected people won’t have any symptoms. However, those who do develop symptoms will experience a stinging sensation when peeing, and men may have discharge from the penis and pain or tenderness in the testicles. For women, the obvious signs are cystitis, vaginal discharge, pain in the pelvis during sex and bleeding between periods. If the infection is caught from anal sex, there can also be pain and discharge from the anus for either gender.

While these symptoms can present themselves within the first three weeks of infection, they can stay hidden for months, if not years.

What does the discharge look like?

If you have it, the discharge varies from being milky white and odourless to yellowish and smelly.

How is chlamydia treated?

It’s important to know that chlamydia is a common STI, and diagnosis and treatment is straightforward. In our clinic, you’ll either be asked to produce a urine test or our GP will take a swab. For women this will be taken from the vagina and men from the tip of the penis. If you’ve had anal or oral sex, our GP may take a swab from your anus or throat. The samples will be sent to the lab or examined by the doctor under a microscope, which will give you the results straight away.

Treatment is a course of antibiotics. This can be prescribed by our GP’s.

While you may not want to shout it from the rooftops, it’s important to inform any sexual partners to avoid re-infection. Chances are they’ll need to be tested and be put on a course of antibiotics, too.

What if I ignore it?

Ignoring it – or even the possibility you might have it – can lead to some pretty serious health issues, especially in women. The mildest of these is cervicitis, which is an inflammation of the cervix, and the worst-case scenario is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) . This painful infection of the uterus can damage the fallopian tubes and leave a woman infertile. In some cases, women with untreated PID suffer a ruptured organ in much the way an appendicitis sufferer might. This can be fatal. Contracting chlamydia during pregnancy may also be linked to early miscarriage and premature birth.

For men, leaving it untreated may lead to a painful infection in the testicles and can sometimes reduce fertility. Babies born to a woman with chlamydia may also be born with the infection, causing eye damage or pneumonia.

Found in the semen and vaginal fluids of men and women, gonorrhoea is a highly contagious infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae .

In women, it’s also possible for the infection to spread through vaginal secretions to the rectum – you don’t have to have anal sex – and pregnant women can transfer the disease to their baby during childbirth. It can also grow in the eyes if you rub them after touching infected areas. You can’t catch it, however, through kissing, sharing baths or sitting on warm toilet seats.

According to the Health Protection Agency, the number of new infections has been in steady decline since 1999. However, 15 to 24-year-olds still make up the largest proportion of new cases reported.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhoea?

Signs of infection can start two to 10 days after having sex with an infected person, however, over half of women infected and a third of men may not have any symptoms at all.

For women, symptoms include painful urination and pain during sex, vaginal discharge, anal itching or discharge (after anal sex), sore throat and fever (after oral sex), heavier periods and bleeding between periods. Menstrual problems aside, for men, the symptoms mirror a woman’s but include tender testicles and a discharge from the penis. If the infection is in the eye you can expect redness, itching or discharge.

What does gonorrhoea look like?

Discharge is the obvious physical sign. In men, this can start out as slimy and barely noticeable, but quickly develops into a more substantial yellowish or creamy coloured substance. For gay men it can lead to a painful discharge of bloody pus in the rectum. In women, it can be yellowish – sometimes almost green – and smells gross.

How is gonorrhoea treated?

If you have any of the above symptoms you need to get it sorted straight away.  Diagnosis often requires a sample of urine and a swab sample from the cervix, urethra, penis, rectum, or throat to be sent to the lab for testing. If you have conjunctivitis a swab sample will also be collected for testing from your eyes.

Treatment is straightforward: a single-dose injection of an antibiotic, such as ceftriaxone (Rocephin)or a single-dose pill, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) . People infected with gonorrhoea sometimes have chlamydia too, so we will often give a combination of antibiotics to treat both STIs.

Treatment with antibiotics is quick and effective; you’ll see an improvement in symptoms within two to three days. However, if you don’t see any improvement you should make an appointment to see our doctor again. Partners should also be tested and regular check-ups are recommended to avoid re-infection.

What if I ignore it?

Thanks to its offensive smell gonorrhoea is something most people can’t ignore. However, if you do choose to stick your head in the sand you can expect a whole host of health problems. In men, this includes inflammation of the testicles and possible infertility, as well as a permanent narrowing of the urethra (urine tube in the penis). In women, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease , which can be extremely painful and lead to more serious health issues, including infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Babies born to an infected woman can also suffer inflammation and discharge in the eyes (conjunctivitis), which can lead to blindness.

If, after all this, you’re still in denial the infection may spread through the bloodstream and affect your joints and heart. Complications can include meningitis (inflammation of thebrain) or endocarditis (an infection of the heart).

What is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. Our immune system defends our body against illness, and blood plays an important part in this. We have millions of blood cells, of which about 1% are white. A particularly important type of white cell is the T helper cell. HIV attacks T helper cells and damages the body’s ability to fight infection.

HIV can develop into Aids (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) – meaning the body is no longer able to guard against infection and disease.

How do you get HIV?

The HIV virus is found in infected blood, semen or vaginal fluid. In general, infection can occur in the following ways:

  • Having unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive. You can protect yourself from HIV infection by using condoms. Be aware that only barrier contraceptives, such as condoms , will protect against HIV and other STIs . Hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill or the patch , will not offer this protection.
  • The risk of contracting Aids through unprotected oral sex is less likely – but transmission is possible if semen, vaginal fluid or menstrual blood come into contact with bleeding gums or mouth infections.
  • Sharing a hypodermic syringe with someone who has HIV can lead to the exchange of infected blood.
  • A mother who has HIV can pass it on to her baby while she is pregnant , or via breastfeeding.  If you are HIV positive and pregnant there are ways of reducing the risk of your baby becoming infected. Speak to your doctor (GP) for more information.
  • In the past, people have contracted the HIV virus from receiving contaminated blood in a transfusion, but these days this is incredibly rare. Now, most industrialised countries test blood for HIV prior to any transfusions.

There are many myths about how HIV is spread. For the record, the virus is unable to survive outside of the body. It means you CANNOT catch HIV from kissing, , toilet seats, sharing towels or giving blood.

What are the symptoms of HIV and Aids?

Some people show no symptoms of HIV infection at all, but between 70 and 90% of people will exhibit some signs. Symptoms usually appear around 10 days after infection. It’s common for a fever, rash and a severe sore throat to appear together. However, someone who is HIV positive may feel perfectly well even though the virus is still active within the body.

The virus is infectious from the moment it is contracted. This means there’s a risk that someone with HIV can be unaware of their condition for some time and unwittingly expose others to the virus.

“Around 28% of people with HIV don’t know they’re infected,” says Gareth Davies of the Terrence Higgins Trust. “It’s very important to go and get tested if you think you may have put yourself at risk.”

The onset of Aids is associated with a wide range of symptoms. This is because the body’s immune system has become so weak that it is vulnerable to all kinds of infection and conditions. Common complaints include fatigue, weight loss, chest and skin infections, diarrhoea, night sweats and ulcers.

Treating HIV and Aids

To date, there is no cure for HIV or Aids. Treatment focuses on slowing down, or stabilising, the progress of the HIV infection, and managing the symptoms of any associated infection or complaint.

What is syphilis?

What is syphilis?

Caused by bacteria called Treponema pallidum , syphilis is a dangerous STI that’s passed on through unprotected sex, and from mother to child before or during birth.

New cases are on the increase once more – mostly among young adults and gay men.

What are the symptoms of syphilis?

Syphilis goes through four different stages: primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. Following the initial infection, it takes up to four weeks before a highly contagious sore, a ‘chancre’ (pronounced shanker), appears on the genitals, rectum or mouth. This is usually painless and if left untreated will disappear, but that doesn’t mean the disease has gone away.

Within eight weeks the disease moves into its secondary stage. Symptoms include a rash, warty-looking growths on the genitals, tiredness, headaches with a fever, swollen lymph nodes, a sore throat, and hair and weight loss. These symptoms can come and go at random over roughly three months, but unless treated will begin to affect the entire body as it progresses to the latent period.

Lasting anything from a month to a patients’ entire lifetime, the latent period sees the spirochete (the type of bacteria) affecting the bone marrow, lymph glands, vital organs and the central nervous system of its host. However, there are no obvious symptoms, and around 50-70% of patients live out the rest of their lives without the disease ever progressing to the tertiary stage.

Within eight weeks the disease moves into its secondary stage. Symptoms include a rash, warty-looking growths on the genitals, tiredness, headaches with a fever, swollen lymph nodes, a sore throat, and hair and weight loss. These symptoms can come and go at random over roughly three months, but unless treated will begin to affect the entire body as it progresses to the latent period.

What does it look like?

The chancres can be red, firm and sometimes wet. They don’t hurt and there’s usually only one, but there can be more. During the second stage a reddish/brown rash can develop anywhere on the body, white patches can appear on the tongue and wart-like growths can materialise where the infection started. Once in the tertiary stage, multiple weeping sores can spread all over the genitals, anus or around the mouth.

How do I treat syphilis?

If you find a chancre or you’ve had unprotected sex with someone with a dubious past, see a Doctor and get tested . Caught in the primary or secondary stage, a scraping will be taken from the sores and a blood test may be needed for diagnosis. Treatment is simple: primary and secondary syphilis can be blasted with a high dose injection of penicillin, which will kill the bacteria within 24 hours. Left until the latent stage, however, and treatment will require three injections given at weekly intervals. Antibiotics will be prescribed if you’re allergic to penicillin.

As there’s a high risk of passing it on it’s essential to inform partners so they can get themselves checked out.

What if I ignore it?

Syphilis is a dangerous STI that doesn’t just go away. The symptoms may come and go and even disappear for years, but unless treated the bacteria can easily become active again.

An untreated pregnant woman is likely to pass the infection on to her unborn child, which can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, or the baby being born with syphilis. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection because HIV can enter the body more easily when there’s a sore present.

Trichomonas,  is a contagious STI caused by a tiny parasite Trichomonas vaginalis (TV). Infecting the vagina and urethra in women, and the urethra and sometimes the prostate gland in men, it’s passed on through unprotected sex, and in rare cases by sharing sex toys. It’s more common in women than men, hence the name ‘vaginalis’, and used to be a well-known cause of vaginal discharge and intense vulval soreness, but it’s now creeping into boys’ bits, too.

In the UK there’s an estimated 6000 new cases each year.

What are the symptoms of trichomonas?

Like many other STIs, there may be no symptoms at all – especially in men – but for those who do they normally appear from three to 21 days after infection. Generally, the symptoms are much worse for women and can be similar to gonorrhoea. An unpleasant vaginal discharge is one of the first signs, followed by soreness, inflammation and itching in and around the vagina; pain when peeing; pain when having sex; and lower abdominal tenderness.

For men, there may be a discharge from the penis; pain or a burning sensation when peeing; and, on rare occasions, inflammation of the glans (head of penis) or foreskin.

What does the discharge look like?

In women this can be yellow or greenish, thin, frothy and have a musty or fishy smell.  In men it can be thin and whiteish.

How is trichomonas treated?

If you notice anything unusual ‘downstairs’ contact us for an appointment, at which one of our fully qualified private GP’s will exam you and if necessary carry out a suitable test. The test for trichomonas is a straight forward ‘swab’ test. A lot of people infected with trichomonas are also found to have gonorrhoea as well, so the GP may test for this, too.

Treatment is simple and involves taking antibiotic tablets, either as a single dose or a longer course (up to a week). To avoid re-infection, any sexual partners should also be treated.

What if I ignore it?

It doesn’t pose any major health risks. In fact, in some cases the infection clears up by itself. However, it may take several weeks and there’s no way of predicting whether it will clear or not and you may find the discharge unpleasant.

There is a risk, however, of passing trichomoniasis onto your baby if you pick it up whilst you’re pregnant. For men, it can cause prostatinitis (an infection of the prostate gland), but this is extremely rare.

What is genital Herpes?

If you are at all concerned about your sexual health we offer a range of STI Tests across Hamsphire and East Sussex.

Genital herpes is a virus that’s passed on through penetrative and oral sex, as well as through close genital contact. The virus is most contagious during the active phase, when there are visible sores. However, it can also be passed on through the skin or mucous membranes (known as viral shedding), when there are no symptoms. It’s caused by herpes simplex (HSV), a virus that has two strands: HSV 1 and HSV II. Both types can infect the genital area, anus, and also the mouth and nose (cold sores). It can also infect the fingers and hand (whitlows). Like the common cold sore, after the first outbreak the virus remains in your body for the rest of your life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have the physical symptoms.

Now, over 70% of the population in the UK has the milder HSV I virus responsible for cold sores and 10% has genital herpes, although numbers are creeping up. In 2008 a record number of people (28,957) were diagnosed with genital herpes. Just over 60% of these diagnoses were among women.

What are the symptoms of genital herpes?

The first attack of herpes is usually the worst. Within 10 days of infection, symptoms are likely to appear, ranging from feeling generally unwell, a headache, temperature, swollen glands and aching muscles. These are followed by a tingling or itching sensation in the groin area before small watery blisters appear around the genitals or anus. These burst to leave painful sores that sting even more when you pee – especially for women.

What does genital herpes look like?

Everyone knows what a cold sore looks like. Now imagine that on your genitals.

How is genital herpes treated?

If you feel a tingling sensation in your groin similar to the early signs of a cold sore, go to your nearest genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or make an appointment to see your Doctor A nurse or doctor can tell if you’ve got a dose on sight, although they’ll take a swab of fluid from the blisters or sores and send them off to the lab for confirmation.

Treatment involves a course of antiviral tablets, usually prescribed within five days of the start of the outbreak. The first outbreak lasts between two and four weeks, but there are things you can do to speed this up and ease the pain. Bathing the sores in salt water, using a cold compress wrapped in a tea towel, or even applying cold tea bags directly to the sores can all help. Applying an anaesthetic ointment can also soothe the pain, but don’t be tempted to use over-the-counter treatments for cold sores, as they’re not suitable for genital herpes.

Subsequent attacks – if you get them – are less severe and may be brought on by certain triggers, including illness, stress, or too much friction during sex. However, many people who get herpes don’t have more than one attack.

What if I ignore it?

Unlike most STIs, genital herpes will eventually clear up by itself so it’s not essential to have treatment – although it can speed up recovery. However, painful, weeping sores on your bits are hard to ignore.

If a pregnant woman contracts genital herpes in the first three months of her pregnancy there’s a small risk of miscarriage. Picked up later on, the virus can be passed onto a baby during a vaginal birth.

One of the most common sexually transmitted infections you can get, you can carry the genital warts virus without knowing you’ve got it.

If caught early, genital warts are easily treatable. Treating them also reduces the risk of you passing on the virus to anyone else, so make sure you get checked out if you think you’re suffering from this common, harmless virus. Doctors are used to seeing these tiny little lumps, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed.

What are they?

The warts are caused by a group of viruses called Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and can be found around the genitals of men and women; occasionally they can appear on the upper thighs.

What are the symptoms?

The virus can live in the body for a very long time (up to 18 months) without showing any symptoms at all. When the warts appear they generally don’t itch or hurt and can also be so small that they’re only visible under a microscope. So the truth is you probably won’t know you’ve got them until you can physically feel the warts. However, once established on the genitals the warts can both enlarge and spread – including to the anus – so it’s worth getting early treatment.

What do they look like?

Some look like common warts you might get on your hand or foot; some are as small as a pinhead. They can be flat, hard or cauliflower-like lumps and be white, grey or pink in colour. However, in medical terms there are five types:

  • Hyperplastic or classical greyish or flesh coloured warts located mostly in the moist areas
  • Sessile smaller, more discrete flesh coloured, hypermigmented greyish white lesions found in dry and moist areas
  • Verruca vulgaris large dark grey or brown dry lesion that resembles a common skin wart found on the perineum, pubis and scrotum
  • Pigmented papules discrete pigmented solid lumps with a smooth surface found anywhere, usually in combination with other warts
  • Giant condylomata acuminata extremely rare large gradually progressive warts most commonly located on the penis, but can appear anywhere around the genitals

How are they treated?

You will only need treatment if the warts are visible, so if you see something suspicious down there, sort it out straight away. Go to your nearest genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or make an appointment to see your doctor (GP). If you can’t see anything but have a strong suspicion you have warts the doctor can apply a weak vinegar-like solution to the genitals, which turns the warts white making them more visible.

Treatment involves either putting a cream (imiquimod) or liquid (Podophyllin) onto the warts, freezing them with liquid nitrogen, surgery or laser treatment. They can only be removed successfully by a medical professional, so don’t attempt any form of over-the-counter wart removal treatment at home. Not only will it bring tears to your eyes, it won’t actually get rid of them.

For some people the warts can clear up quite quickly, for others it can take a long time and treatment often has to be repeated or even changed. Also – and here’s the bad news – although treatments can remove the warts, they do not remove the HPV, so warts can recur (about 50-73% of the time). Just like warts on your fingers, they can also spontaneously go away when your body finally kicks out the virus.

What if I ignore them?

Ignoring them could result in them getting bigger and becoming more difficult to treat. It may also affect your sexual confidence if you know you have genital warts, even if they’re so small your partner can’t see them. So best to get them sorted. Some strains of HPV (but not the one that causes genital warts) have also been linked to cervical cells that can lead to cancer, so women who’ve been infected may need more regular smear tests.

Can I avoid getting genital warts?

Wearing a condom offers some protection, but as the virus can spread from the areas of the genitals not covered by the condom it’s not a sure-fire guarantee. For this reason you should let anyone you’re sleeping with know if you’re carrying the virus. That way they can make their own decision about whether they want to risk getting genital warts or not.

You can be vaccinated against genital warts, South Downs Sexual Healthcare offers Gardasil vaccination against genital warts.

Herpes screening

We offer all types of STI test across Hampshire and East Sussex.

A Herpes test is carried out by one of our private GPs in one of our modern consulting rooms. Based in Portsmouth, Chichester and Emsworth across Hampshire and East Sussex we offer confidential STI Tests.

A Herpes Test is a simple blood test carried out by one of our qualified sexual health GPs.

It is a quick and simple test which will give you peace of mind about your sexual health.

Sexual Health Screening Tests

We offer a range of sexual health services which are 100% anonymous and confidential.

Our private doctors are fully qualified and can be seen in our General practice consulting rooms in Emsworth in Hampshire or private clinic in Boxgrove, Chichester, West Sussex

Instant Tests – Results in 10 mins

The Instant HIV test is licenced from 14 days post exposure but it is best to leave it until 18-28 days post exposure.

This test requires either a finger prick or a blood test from your arm.

The results are available to you in 10-15 minutes.

Our test is CE accredited as a 4th Generation test measuring HIV-1 p24 Antigen and HIV-1/2 Antigen / Antibody.

If you need to know before this we can arrange an early detection screen from 10 days post exposure.

This RNA test takes 5 working days and can be found under Early Detection screen.

Our 4th generation instant HIV test detects both HIV-1/2 antibodies and the HIV-1 p24 antigen, which can appear just 12-26 days after infection.

HIV-1/2 antibodies first appear significantly later – 20 to 45 days after infection.

Our instant HIV test is licenced from just 12 days post exposure but best taken at 18-28 days post exposure.

Studies have shown our instant HIV test exhibits high specificity, excellent ability to detect Ab and demonstrates good sensitivity for detecting early HIV infections

This package provides an instant test and then the recommended subsequent gold standard 5th Generation HIV laboratory blood test at 3 months.

This allows total confirmation of your status which can be reassuring to get a early test but then total confirmation at 90 days.

The total cost of the two tests is £225 .

If you wish to add a Day 28 test this can be added for £85.

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Tests for both chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

These tests are valid from 14 days post exposure.

These tests require a swab sample to be taken from the urethra in men and vagina in ladies.

If you have concerns regarding oral or anal infection we can also swab these areas but only the above swab is included in this instant package.

Oral or anal swabs must be sent to the laboratory and cost £100 each.

Instant tests for HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea .

( we can substitute any test for syphillis)

The Instant HIV test is licenced from 14 days post exposure but it is best to leave it until 18-28 days post exposure.

This test requires either a finger prick or a blood test from your arm.

The results are available to you in 10-15 minutes.

Our test is CE accredited as a 4th Generation test measuring HIV-1 p24 Antigen and HIV-1/2 Antigen / Antibody.

If you need to know before this we can arrange an early detection screen from 10 days post exposure.

HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphillis.

Gold Standard Tests

This checks for the conditions below and is valid from 2 weeks after any contact of concern

Chlamydia Trachomatis
Gonorrhoea
Mycoplasma genitalium
Ureaplasma urealyticum
Trichomonas Vaginalis
Gardnerella Vaginalis
Herpes Simplex Virus I&II

Giving accurate results from 10 days post exposure.

Results are available after 4 working days.

We are unable to do these tests on Thursday after 1200.

5 th Generation HIV

Hep B sAg

Syphilis IgG/IgM

Chlamydia/Gonorrhoea by PCR

Mycoplasma/Ureaplasma Culture

Results available normally in 2 working days.

This 5th Generation assay provides more information by specifically identifying HIV-1 or HIV-2 and allows results of antigen and antibody detection to be reported individually.

Because antigens and antibodies are detectable at different stages of the infection, reporting of both helps to differentiate between acute and established HIV infection.

HIV-1 and HIV-2 are the two types of HIV, with HIV-1 being the most widespread worldwide.

The two viruses are similar but distinct and different, which means that tests targeted to one type, will not detect the other.

Chlamydia
Gonorrhoea
Syphilis

5th Generation HIV
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Syphilis
Chlamydia
Gonorrhoea
Mycoplasma genitalium
Ureaplasma urealyticum
Trichomonas Vaginalis
Gardnerella Vaginalis
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and 2