Shanghai sexual health guide part two

Where to go for STD testing and cervical screening

Time Out provides a guide to STD testing and cervical screening in Shanghai in the second part of a sexual health special. See part one: A guide to contraception and abortion providers.

STD testing

Although many international clinics offer STD testing services, we’ve focused on local hospitals for two reasons. First, anonymity: international clinics don’t offer the no-questions-asked sexual health audit that’s common in the West; a doctor will recommend tests only after a consultation to discuss lifestyle and risk exposure, and full name and passport numbers are required at registration (the authorities are notified and visas revoked from anyone who tests HIV positive). Secondly, prices: international clinics will commonly charge more than triple the cost of a public hospital.

What to ask for:

Wǒ xiǎngzuò àizībìng jiǎnchá 我想做艾滋病检查 (I want to do an Aids test)

Aizī bìngdú/àizībìng 艾滋病毒/艾滋病 (HIV/Aids)

línbìng 淋病 (gonorrhoea)

méidú 梅毒 (syphilis)

yīyuántǐ 衣原体 (chlamydia)

pàozhěn 疱疹(herpes)

yǐxíng gānyán 乙型肝炎(hepatitis B)

Where to go We’ve visited three of the best-known public hospitals below, but for a complete directory of local hospitals providing STD screening services, see, an English language site offering information, support and counselling on sexual health services. For a dedicated male HIV testing and support centre contact Boysky Reading Room (136 2178 6609; 135 6496 1538).

Additional information Full STD screenings require two types of test: a blood test for HIV and hepatitis B, and a swab for all other tests. For women, this will be an internal swab using a speculum (similar to a smear test); for men, a cotton bud is inserted into the urethra.

Huashan Hospital

Tests available Chlamydia, hepatitis B, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV.

452.50RMB, includes a registration fee of 15.50RMB.

Process At the general outpatient department, asking for the STD clinic gets you directed to the foreigners’ section on the eighth floor. If you want the local service instead, head to the third floor dermatology department to fill in a form with your name, age, and contact details, and pay a registration fee. In return, you’ll receive a magnetic cost-tracking card and form, and be sent down a corridor to the STD department, where you’ll be assigned a number before being called in for your initial consultation. After asking for a full set of STD tests, the doctor will tick a series of boxes and direct you to the second floor to pay. Finally, you’ll return to the third floor for the tests.

Discretion Privacy is low on the hospital’s list of priorities; patients, nurses and technicians wander in and out of the doctor’s consulting room at will. Thankfully the internal examination takes place in a separate, private room behind a screen. And for complete anonymity, a fake name and address at the registration stage would likely go undetected.

Speed Surprisingly quick; the most time-consuming aspect is the to-ing and fro-ing between different floors. On our visit, we were in and out in under an hour, which included a ten-minute wait for our initial consultation.

Attitude Though the front-line staff are brisk and impersonal, the doctor is pleasant enough in answering our questions and reminding us to relax and breathe deeply to minimise discomfort during the examination.

Comfort Physical discomfort is minimal; the needle prick for the blood sample is short and sharp, while the swab, though uncomfortable, is no worse or lengthy than a regular smear test.

Language Despite English language signage and a doctor who conducts the examination in English, none of the clerical staff speak English and the registration form is in Chinese.

Notification Chlamydia results can be collected in person around 90 minutes after the sample is taken; for all other results, you’re notified by phone in Chinese two weeks later.

Huashan Hospital 12 Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, near Changle Lu, Huangpu district (5288 9999; Open 8am-4.30pm daily. See address details

Shanghai People’s Number One Hospital

Tests available Chlamydia, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV.

Cost 285.50RMB, includes a registration fee of 15.50RMB.

Process Head to the second floor of building five, a general outpatient hall, and fill in a basic form to register with the hospital. After this, head to the dermatology unit on the third floor where you’ll be offered two types of test – a blood test for HIV and hepatitis B, and a swab for Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis – before being sent to the second floor to pay for it all and then to the ground floor for the tests.

Discretion Consultations are held in a small room with a door open onto the corridor, and they take place at a volume that is almost certainly audible to those waiting outside. However, on our initial registration form we’re able to provide our Chinese name (despite being Caucasian) together with a fake passport number and address, ensuring a level of anonymity.

Speed It takes about an hour and much of that time is spent dealing with the initial registration and subsequent fee paying.

Attitude The service is impersonal and business-like throughout; an advantage if you’re not particularly looking to make small talk about what you’re in for, but a disadvantage if you don’t like being part of a production line, pinged between various floors.

Comfort The ruthless efficiency of the nurse at the blood sample station leads to a slight bruising on our arm and we’re warned that the male swab will sting a little, which it does, but it’s all over quickly. In general terms, the hospital is dingy and slightly chaotic – we have to dive out the way of staff barrelling occupied beds down the corridors.

Language Some basic English is spoken at the consultation stage and by the doctors, but not enough that you’d feel comfortable discussing medical issues. All of the signs and forms are Chinese only and so are the vast majority of the staff, meaning Chinese language skills are a must here.

Notification We’re told to come and collect our results six days later.

Shanghai People’s Number One Hospital 100 Haining Lu, near Wusong Lu, Hongkou district (6324 0090; Open 8-11am, midday-4pm daily. See address details

Shanghai Skin Disease and STD Clinic

Tests available Chlamydia, hepatitis B, syphilis, HIV.

Cost 355.50RMB, includes a registration fee of 15.50RMB.

Process Arriving at window one of building three, which is outdoors and visible from the street, declare your intention to visit the STD clinic. You’ll receive a small ticket, which you take to window two,where you fill in the cover of your medical record booklet and receive a magnetic card. You’re then directed to the STD clinic on the third floor of building three, which has two consultation rooms in use – one for men to see a male doctor and one for women to see a female doctor.

Discretion This is a busy public hospital where speaking in hushed tones and insinuations will get you nowhere. It’s just you and the doctor in the examination room, though don’t be surprised if an overeager patient tries to barge in. Speed Once you’ve registered, the wait should only be 30 minutes to an hour, and less if you’re female.

Attitude On our visit, the girl at the service desk isn’t particularly helpful, but the doctor and the lab technician who draw blood are kind enough. The doctor answered our questions as best he could in a mix of English and Chinese, and cautioned us that the male swab test would hurt a bit.

Comfort Apart from the physical discomfort of the male swab test, which is sharp but brief, the only real issue is the awkwardness of the waiting room, where about ten of us, men and women, wait in a room with capacity for 30.

Language Moving through the hospital bureaucracy, ‘STD’ is about the only English medical term that’s commonly understood. You won’t need to write in Chinese to get treated, and the doctor will speak some English. If you speak enough Mandarin to take directions and make payments, you’ll be OK.

Notification Chlamydia results can be obtained 40 minutes after submitting your sample to the lab, with others available after a week. Hand your magnetic card to the nurse at the third floor STD clinic service desk and she’ll print your results in Chinese (阴性 is negative, meaning you probably don’t have a given disease; 阳性 is positive, meaning you might). After you receive the results, you’ll meet with a doctor to discuss them.

Shanghai Skin Disease and STD Clinic 196 Wuyi Lu, near Anxi Lu, Huangpu district (6183 3000 for enquiries; 6183 3107 for appointments). Open 8am-midday, 1pm-5pm daily (registration 7.30am-11am, 12.30pm-4.30pm). See address details

Cervical smear test and HPV screening

What it is A cervical screening test (commonly known as a ‘smear test’ or ‘Pap test’) is used to detect abnormal cells in the cervix, which may or may not be pre-cancerous. HPV screening checks for the HPV (human papilloma) virus which can cause these cell changes, and is used to obtain more information following an unclear smear test.

Who needs one According to Dr Yvette Kong of WorldPath Clinic’s obstetrics and gynaecology department, if you’re sexually active, you no longer need to wait until you’re 21 for your first smear test. For women aged between 21-29 years, she recommends a smear test every three years, while women aged 30-65 should seek both a smear test and an HPV screening every three-five years.

What to expect The procedure is uncomfortable but brief (no more than five minutes), involving the insertion of a small brush-like object into the vagina to collect cells from the cervix surface. An abnormal result doesn’t necessarily mean the presence of cancer; it could be due to other factors including inflammation. The next step is usually a colposcopy (a microscope examination of the cervix) at which point a section of tissue may be removed for analysis.

Where to go The following clinics all offer smear tests and HPV screening, however, in the case of the local clinics, please note that you’ll receive your test results in Chinese only.

International clinics

American-Sino OB/GYN Service Third Floor, Block 6, Clove Apartment Bldg, 800 Huashan Lu, near Wulumuqi Bei Lu, Jingan district (6210 2299; Open 9am- 8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Sat-Sun. Jingan Temple. 静安区华山路800 弄6号裙楼3楼, 近乌鲁木齐北路 500RMB/consultation; 800RMB/ smear test; 800RMB/HPV test.
See address details

WorldPath Clinic International 399 Nanquan Bei Lu, near Century Avenue, Pudong (2020 7888; Open 9am- 8pm Mon-Fri; 9am-5.30pm Sat- Sun. 1,000RMB/ consultation; 800RMB/smear test; 1,200RMB/ HPV test. See address details

Local clinics

Huashan Hospital 12 Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, near Changle Lu, Huangpu district (5288 9999; Open 8am-4.30pm daily. Around 50RMB. See address details

Ruijin Hospital Seventh Floor, Bldg 1, 197 Ruijin Er Lu, near Yongjia Lu, Huangpu district (6437 0045). Open 7am-7pm daily. Around 50RMB. See address details

Shanghai People’s Liberation Army No. 411 Hospital 15 Jiangwen Dong Lu, near Duolun Lu, Hongkou district (400 0089 411). Open 8am-4.30pm daily. Around 50RMB. See address details

Part one

See our comprehensive guide to contraception and abortion providers in the first part of our guide to sexual health in Shanghai.