Most people that have never had an STI screen are terrified at the prospect. It’s the fear of the unknown. In Ireland I have found that many people wait until they have symptoms or a perceived “risk” before seeking out an STI clinic. There is definitely a cultural difference in Ireland when it comes to health when compared to other nations, this may be due to cost, priorities, embarrassment, lack of education or a mixture of all. When I take a sexual history of an Irish person I often find it may be their first time visiting for an STI test, however, Brazilians, for example will often give a history of having yearly routine screens. For the most part an STI screen involves giving a urine sample and having a blood sample taken for heterosexual men, having vaginal swabs taken and a blood test for women and for MSM’s having a pharyngeal swab, and a rectal swab taken then giving a urine sample and a blood test. It is important to have the correct treatment if you are found to have a STI. More and more we are hearing anecdotal evidence that people are sourcing drugs online which is a very dangerous concept. Gonorrhoea is fast becoming one of the most resistant organisms, over a short span of time this bug has out smarted many classes of antibiotics. The correct treatment now is to receive an IM injection of an ceftriaxone in conjunction with oral antibiotics. If patients have genital warts these can be easily felt with in most cases, a combination of cryotherapy and home treatment sees off most warts in 6 week to 3 months. So don’t be embarrassed there won’t be anything we haven’t see or dealt with before, make STI screening part of your yearly health check for peace of mind.