Genitourinary Medicine

In Singapore, sexually transmitted infections can be diagnosed and treated by a specialist at a genitourinary medicine, or GUM, clinic.

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Certain topics are generally considered private, and sexual behavior is one of those topics. Unfortunately, in Singapore, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are becoming more and more common. When people become exposed to an STI or develop symptoms, then they need to discuss the problem with a knowledgable healthcare provider. However, many don’t want to discuss it with their regular doctor, because they want to keep their sexual history private.

In these cases, people can visit a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. At these clinics, healthcare providers are experts in diseases of the genital and urinary tracts. Nearly all of the patients seen at a GUM clinic suspect that they have an STI. GUM clinics specialize in these diseases and are able to diagnose and treat them effectively, while maintaining complete privacy for their patients.

Some of the patients who visit a GUM clinic know that they’ve been exposed to an STI, because a sexual partner has been diagnosed. Some suspect that they may have been exposed, because they engaged in risky sexual behavior (such as having unprotected sex with multiple partners, or having sex with a commercial sex worker). Some simply come for regular screenings; in Singapore, it’s recommended that all sexually active men and women with new or multiple sex partners be screened for STIs at least once a year, because many of these infections don’t cause obvious symptoms in many of those who are infected.

Others who visit a GUM clinic come because they have symptoms that they suspect indicate an STI. For men, this commonly includes burning with urination, unusual discharge from the penis, or sores on the penis. For women, common symptoms include unusual vaginal discharge, pain with urination or with sexual intercourse, pelvic pain, or sores on the external genitalia or inside the vagina.

If you have any of these symptoms, you shouldn’t wait to visit a GUM clinic. Many STIs can be cured with medication; however, if treatment is delayed, then permanent consequences to your health may occur. Even if you feel embarrassed and don’t want to talk about these issues, your long-term health is at stake, so it’s important to go to a GUM clinic as soon as possible, and to be completely honest about your sexual history. The providers there have heard everything and will never be shocked by what you tell them. You can’t receive the right treatment if your provider doesn’t have all the information.

Your GUM clinic visit will be much like a regular doctor’s visit, including a thorough history and physical examination. There may be laboratory tests required. If there’s discharge, some of it will be collected for the testing. You may also receive blood tests or urine tests. The results of the tests can take hours to days to come back.

Some STIs can be cured with antibiotics, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Some, however, cannot be cured completely, and will have to be managed for life. This category includes herpes, HIV, and hepatitis B. However, it’s still much better to know about the illness than to avoid going to the GUM clinic, because there are medications that can help to keep these diseases under control if they’re started early enough.

Categories: Genitourinary Medicine
2015 July 30th   Leave a comment

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