NHS & Our Sexual Health!

Our morning at Addenbrookes Hospital and their fabulous Genito-Urinary medicine facility - Clinic 1a

It really is all about choice
Main entrance at Addenbrookes Hospital with Miri Ree

Introduction

Addenbrookes Hospital provides a superb facility for anyone who has concerns about their sexual health. Testing and treatment for HIV and all types of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) is available and complete confidentiality is assured.

 

Clinic 1a also deals with a wide range of sexual health problems including skin conditions, painful sex and some types of gynaecological problems. If you have any concerns, then you may be assured of expert advice. 

 

Miriam and I, are proudly transgender women and we wanted to find out more about the services available to us and to our community.

 

We would like to thank the staff at Clinic 1a and NHS Trust Press Office, for allowing us to document and publish our experience with them.

Background

Transgender women are among the groups at highest risk from HIV infection.

 

In the latest international study, summarised in The Huffington Post and published fully in The Lancet. Transgender women are 48.8% more likely to contract HIV in the studies reference population. Add to this some 22,200 people who are living with HIV in the UK, but are unaware of their infection. Then the need for knowledge, safer sexual practices and sexual health checks are amplified.

 

I feel that no one should be embarrassed or hesitant, in asking any prospective partner to share a Sexual Health check, including HIV test before making love. Our journey to live as women is often long and not without sacrifice. Why then, should we put much of what we have achieved at risk, by not asking a prospective partner, to share the same commitment to health, as we are willing to afford them?

 

Of course, many sexual liaisons develop and happen in the mood of the moment. If you feel you have been at risk, then taking a test can be key to ensuring your health and future welfare. Denying the possibility of exposure to risk, is key to a very different life. You will never be judged at Clinic 1a, so if you are concerned, then consider making an appointment to test.

 

Miriam is from Norway and a very good friend, my own account which illustrates the value of testing can be read here.

 

The complete report on "Transgender Women and HIV" can be accessed from The Lancet (You will need to create a basic user account with The Lancet to open the article)

 

Our experience of Addenbrookes Hospitals Clinic 1a is as follows.

Your welcome at Clinic 1a

Miriam and the lovely reception staff at Clinic 1a

At Clinic 1a you can be assured of confidentiality, respect and professionalism. From your very first contact, you will be afforded consideration and understanding as to your concerns, regardless of transitional issues or sexuality. The ethos of the clinic is to support your decision to test and provide the very best in personable and well informed counselling throughout your experience with them.

 

On arrival at reception you will be given a brief questionnaire to complete which includes your name, address and mobile telephone number. No proof of identity or address is required. It is you as a person and your welfare, which is important to all at Clinic 1A. Once completed, the questionnaire is returned to reception and you will be allocated a clinic reference number. This number is not linked to your NHS records and will be used on all test labelling, ensuring confidentiality.

 

Patient records held in Clinic 1a are unavailable to all other hospital departments including your own doctor, unless ‘you’ authorise their release.

 

There are no geographic boundaries to making an appointment and attending for testing at Clinic 1a. You could in fact come from anywhere in the world. There is no charge for taking an HIV test or any other Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) test.

So whats involved with being tested?

Miriam with Specialist Health Adviser - Elizabeth Hodges

I have tested several times at Clinic 1a and always have felt moved by the compassion, understanding and non-judgemental attitude of all members of staff. On my first occasion I was so anxious and concerned, as I felt certain I would be HIV positive.

 

This is where the initial consultation with your Health Adviser begins and its value is of great benefit. My knowledge of HIV and other STI’s was very little then, I couldn’t even bring myself to read anything regarding HIV. After my consultation with Health Adviser, Elizabeth Hodges, I left knowing that if I were positive, there was much that could be done for me.

 

It was also a great comfort to share my concerns, as their burden alone, was so troubling. Your Health Adviser will have in depth knowledge of all sexually transmitted infections and their treatment. If you have questions, then you have no need to feel hesitant in asking.

Your test

Health Adviser, Kathy Mann with Miriam

After your consultation you will be asked to provide a blood sample for analysis. The nurses are so proficient that it is doubtful you will feel anything greater than a tiny scratch.

 

If you do have concerns about giving blood, then there are measures in place to make this even easier for you.

 

Once completed, your sample is labelled with your unique, but anonymous hospital reference number. Your sample is then sent to Addenbrookes Hospitals own in house testing laboratory.

 

Fast testing is on Tuesday of every week and results are available the next day. For the remainder of the week, results are available within five to ten working days.

Your test result

The hospital will contact you on the mobile phone number you provided. If you have any concerns beforehand, then do contact the clinic as they will be pleased to help.

 

Your result is Negative – Great, consider using the experience and remember what it felt like when you were waiting to be tested and did not know your result.

 

Your result is Positive - There is much that can be done and you have done the best thing for yourself and will now receive the best possible treatment and monitoring. If you have tested positive for HIV, a near normal and fully healthy life is possible with current antiretroviral therapy.

 

If you had not tested, the virus would continue to grow, with many damaging consequences to health.

 

Diagnosis and treatment is so important for any Sexually Transmitted Infection and especially with HIV. There really is no benefit in not knowing...

Contact details

To arrange HIV & Sexual Health tests at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge UK.

 

Please call  01223 217774 

 

They are such lovely people and so easy to talk to.

Fast result HIV testing is available every Tuesday with results given by telephone the next day.

 

For location and full range of services. Please follow this link to Clinic 1a 

Just made love, feel concerned? Then PEP or (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is the only thing that can stop a person becoming infected after HIV has entered their body.

 

Time is ticking, as this treatment needs to happen fast. Please click here

It really is all about choices..

Positive in support for the Trans community.