Genitourinary medicine is the branch of medicine that provides care for people with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A large part of the work in this field involves caring for people with HIV, so genitourinary medicine physicians are experts in the various types of HIV test and treatment.
The branch of medicine that provides care for people with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is called genitourinary medicine (GUM). These are very common diseases. A physician who specialises in genitourinary medicine also takes care of other aspects of sexual health, including providing birth control and treating erectile dysfunction, as well as treating diseases of the genitourinary system that aren’t STDs (such as dermatitis and urinary tract infections).
Many STDs, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, are easily treated with antibiotics. The management of these doesn’t generally take much of the physician’s time. Others, such as herpes, cause long-term infections, but they don’t cause serious health complications in most cases, but are more of a nuisance. These may take a little more time, but still aren’t very labor-intensive for a genitourinary medicine physician.
However, an STD like HIV is a lifelong infection that can cause serious health issues. The management of HIV usually involves multiple medications. These may interact with each other and with other medications or supplements that a patient is taking. To complicate things further, the science of HIV is constantly evolving. New information is being learned about the virus, and new tests and medications are being developed, obligating the physician to stay current on this new knowledge. This means that a physician who cares for patients with HIV spends a great deal of his or her time and effort on this virus.
Because a GUM physician is an expert in HIV, a GUM clinic is the preferred place to get care for HIV. A GUM clinic is also known as an STD clinic, because most of the medical care there is focused around STDs.
If you need an HIV test, having it at an STD clinic ensures that you’ll have access to a physician who knows about the latest research on the virus. Your doctor will know how to interpret the results of your HIV test. If it turns out positive (meaning that you do have HIV), your physician will order a second test to confirm the results. Then, if you’re confirmed to have HIV, then you’ll be able to get the best medical care for your HIV from your GUM physician, helping you to stay healthy for life.
If you’re sexually active, but you don’t have any symptoms, it’s still recommended that you get an HIV test in Singapore once a year (unless you’re in a mutually monogamous sexual relationship). This is because early treatment of HIV helps to keep you healthy for the years to come. It’s important to be mindful about who you choose to have sex with, and to use condoms whenever you have sex. However, even the best protection can fail, so make sure that you have your regular HIV screening test to ensure that you’re taken care of should HIV find its way into your bloodstream.
Mayo Clinic. “STD symptoms: Common STDs and their symptoms.” Mayo Clinic. Published 18 Mar 2015. Accessed 25 Jun 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/std-symptoms/art-20047081
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 25 Feb 2014. Accessed 26 Jun 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/std/general/default.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Screening Recommendations Referenced in Treatment Guidelines and Original Recommendation Sources.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 4 Jun 2015. Accessed 20 Jun 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/screening-recommendations.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “HIV Basics – Testing.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 5 May 2016. Accessed 20 Jun 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/testing.html