Pride Around the UK
Weeping willies! It's time for OutUK's Adrian Gillan to pop down his local STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) clinic. Check out his check up!

It's like that. You slap around for months and nothing, then along comes some cute boy whose butter wouldn't melt, and ouch goes your prick and prick goes your conscience.

Almost nostalgic for the days when they called it "venereal" or "STD", I've seen it all darling: things that crept, things that wept and things that even glowed in the dark! Apart from my routine six month check up - like a good gay boy - I well know the tell-tale signs that get me straight on that bus down the clap clinic.

Ah, the perpetual influx to oust unwanted "love bugs", all creeping in nervy and downcast behind newspapers, plucking ticket numbers from the machine, before slumping invisible. One boy scarce out of shorts, another almost in the grave: the younger gay ones already eye each other up.

At last, my number flashes up on the display and the earth mamma receptionist shrieks out my given name as if in the gospel choir. Yes, it's me, I've got the clap, and I'm coming. Ground open please! Through to the inner sanctum and more silence: save the slapping on of rubber gloves behind closed screens.

"Right, what seems to be the trouble?" says a youngish man in a white coat with a ring on his finger. "And you don't mind having this medical student in with us do you?"

Don't mind that one, cute.

"When did you last have sex?" he asks. "And the time before that? And before that? I see."

The moment arrives when you have to refer to your, well - it. Penis sounds too dusty, willy too cosy and cock too rude. I declare, disembodied: "I think I have an infection in my urethra. Green stuff's oozing out and it tingles a bit. It's like a cold, but down below."

Before you can get any further, gloves are on, your pants are down and he's checking under your foreskin and trying your bollocks for size. The student is invited to hunt for crabs. Doc advises I get at least my most recent brief encounter along too before all this gets out of hand. My response: "Sorry, don't know his name or number, doctor. Can't even recall his face! You see, the room was - dark."

We talk about anal sex as if discussing the price of bread. We consider the low risk associated with oral sex and the need to avoid giving blow jobs if you've cuts in the mouth or you've just brushed your white ones. I then flummox him by asking how dangerous it is to get cum in your eyes, a common occurrence for gay men these days, of which I have seen nothing in the literature. He's never been asked, but thinks it unwise.

"Just lie back and relax, this won't hurt a bit," the camp young male nurse invites. Swabs begin with a small rod up my cock as it goes hunting out infections. He's visibly enjoying the few debatable perks of his job, before scraping my arse & throat for other signs of unwanted life.

"I can't look at the vials filling with my blood," I confide as the nurse pumps up my arm, then pricks and draws blood.

Photo: VladOrlov.
There are more viles on the way, my way infact, as he begins the tests for Hepatitis B, HIV, Syphilis and such - although I'm far more alarmed to discover he can barely watch either. That definitely makes two of us then.

Then the final humiliation: despite dying to pee in the waiting room, your poor cock's now so traumatised it refuses to issue more than a measly drop for the wee jar behind the screen. Then, soon back in again for the doctor's diagnosis, and his final pronouncement: "One of these twice daily for a week - and don't ejaculate whilst you're taking them."

What, literally?

"And we'll need another swab in a week's time to give it the all clear," he concludes, impassive. "You must come in for the HIV result anyway - counselling available on request. Next."

You stagger out - knowing that you've done a responsible, sensible and truly necessary deed - grabbing unfeasibly large fistfuls of condoms from the basket on the side-table as you go. Just one more week and: back in action!


Having an STI is nothing to be ashamed of. They are a reality for anyone who is sexually active. Have a good regular rummage and keep 'em peeled for any unusual discharges, rashes, inflammations, sores, tingling sensations or other phenomena out of the ordinary.

For more information on STIs (Chlamydia, Genital Warts, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis B, Herpes, HIV, Non Specific Urethral infections, Pubic Lice, Scabies, Syphilis, Thrush etc), their symptoms and treatments consult your GP or pop down your local STI clinic. For the location and opening times of your nearest STI clinic, ask your GP or contact NHS 111 - 24 hours a day by calling 111 from any phone, or

It's always wise to call a sexual health clinic if you need help or advice. Please only go to the clinic if you've been asked to, or you have made an appointment.


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