I’m actually writing a blog containing USEFUL INFORMATION.
Obviously, How To Make A Fez For Your Cat was crammed with useful information too, but I’m guessing it was a bit niche. (I can’t confirm for sure, as I don’t know how many people are sexually active in London vs. how many people own cats AND are stupid enough to make a fez for them.)
In 2014, a really useful walk-in clinic opened in Soho – the Dean Street Express. They do fast and free STD/STI testing 6 days a week. The results are ready within a few hours and are delivered via text message.
You can turn up to the place on Dean Street whenever you like. It looks a bit like a eurodisco-themed cocktail bar – lots of bright colours and neon, two of my favourite things. They don’t offer glow sticks, but you could probably bring your own and they wouldn’t mind. The staff are very friendly and welcoming.
Note – If you’ve picked up an STD/STI, you have to wait for it to brew before the tests will pick it up – you can’t test the day after a dodgy encounter. Best read up on their website about it.
Speak to the people on reception and they’ll direct you to answer some probing questions on an iPad, so you don’t have to answer them out loud. The questions may be a bit embarrassing, you see. Things like “When did you last have sex?” “How many sexual partners have you had in the last X months?” and “Has anyone you’ve had sex with in the last X months had sex with someone of the same gender?”
Obviously, no-one will judge you for any of your answers – this is Soho, silly.
You’re given a swab in a sterile tube and you go through to spacious cubicles, where you do a “self swab” – this tests for Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia.
Instructional videos are provided in the cubicles – worth a watch just to see the fleshlight they use to demonstrate the vag swab technique. Doing your own swab is not the nicest thing ever, but quite a lot better than having chlamydia run riot in your chuff.
The last time I visited, some poor chap was so nervous or pre-occupied that he forgot to lock the cubicle door behind him, and this fool here walked in on him. Top tip: Lock the fucking door behind you, unless you particularly want someone to walk in mid-self-swab. Shudder.
When I last went, you popped the swab in a tiny tube supplied, and put it inside a bigger tube… then OFF IT WENT! LIKE A (slow) ROCKET! LOOK!
That done, you go downstairs into a waiting room. You get called into an individual room with a nurse, who takes some blood, to test for syphilis and HIV. And that’s all for now.
I should point out that I’m writing this from my experience and I’m a woman – the experience is slightly different for men. You swab different bits, there may be peeing involved too, but the blood test is exactly the same.
As you’re in Soho, you may as well pop to the pub and have ten drinks while you wait for the results to come through. Your phone will trill a few hours later. WOOHOO:
If you’re not so lucky and you need further treatment, the text messages will contain information from the clinic on what to do next.
One more thing! The nice people on reception will give you a personalised card to make repeat test visits quicker and easier, which is awfully kind. (I think they should have some kind of loyalty scheme, for example 10 tests = 1 free burrito.)
In summary, the Dean Street Express is a quick, useful, sexy, free resource in Soho. Take advantage of it and make sure your friends know about it.
God bless the NHS.