Genitourinary Medicine

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If you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, you can receive treatment at a GUM clinic in Singapore, and your privacy will be protected.

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If you have a cough or a fever, then you visit your regular general practitioner (GP). However, if you suspect that you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), then you may not feel comfortable telling your GP about it. Or you may simply prefer to go to a specialist who sees these types of infections every day.

Genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics exist precisely for this purpose. In Singapore, GUM clinics primarily diagnose and treat sexually transmitted illnesses. These clinics maintain the highest standards of privacy, because many people don’t want their sexual behavior or their illness status made public.

STI screening

Some common STIs in Singapore include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, trichomoniasis, and genital warts. While life-threatening STIs like HIV and hepatitis B are less common, their incidence is on the rise; these infections may be transmitted not only through unprotected sex, but also through contaminated needles. A GUM clinic can screen you for these infections regardless of how you may have acquired them.

The only sure way to prevent STIs is through abstinence, or a mutually monogamous sexual partnership. Condoms can help to prevent many of these diseases, but they can sometimes fail. If you’re sexually active with more than one person, then you should consider getting screened for STIs at least once a year. Men who have sex with men should consider being screened every 3 to 6 months, because STIs are more common among this group.

STI Symptoms

Those with STI symptoms should come to a GUM clinic immediately. It’s very important not to wait, because many of these diseases can be treated effectively, but only if they’re caught early. If treatment is started later, there can be permanent damage to your health.

Symptoms that should trigger a GUM visit include
• Burning with urination
• Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
• Swelling or redness of the penis, vulva, or vagina
• Pelvic pain
• Pain with intercourse
• Sores or growths on the penis, vulva, or vagina

While your provider may be able to diagnose you solely based on a history and examination, laboratory tests are often necessary to confirm the diagnosis. This could include sending a swab of the discharge or fluid from the sores, saliva tests, urine tests, and/or blood tests. Sometimes, the results may take a few days to come back. You should avoid having sex until your results are back, so you don’t infect your sex partner.

In many cases, an STI can be cured with a short course of antibiotics. In some cases, however, longer-term treatment is necessary. With HIV, treatment is lifelong, but is often effective at controlling the virus and allowing for a long life.


Genitourinary medicine at Shim Clinic, Singapore