It’s pretty common to think that you’d know if you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), just like you’d know if you have the flu, but STIs are a little different. Most people don’t have any symptoms when they have an STI so the only way to know for sure is to get tested. This week is Sexual Health Week (February 13-20) so we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about STI tests.
What exactly happens during an STI test?
STI tests can seem a bit daunting if you’ve never had one before. If you’re feeling nervous check out the YEP Project’s How to Get an STI Test video to ease your mind about what goes on behind that closed door and what kind of questions you might get asked.
Does a urine STI test, test for oral STIs?
Some STIs such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia can occur in the throat if you have engaged in unprotected oral sex. While a blood and urine test will test for most STIs, a throat swab is required to test for any STIs in the throat.
How long does it take for an STI to show up on an STI test?
It could take a few weeks for chlamydia and gonorrhoea to show up in a urine test or vaginal swab and up to 3 months for syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV to be detected in a blood test. For this reason it’s best to have a full STI check-up both one month and three months later.
Can I find out if my partner has had an STI test?
The details of a person’s STI test, their results and possible treatment by law have to remain confidential by the doctor and clinic involved. The only way of finding out is by talking to your partner. Relationships Australia has some great resources on their website about communicating in relationships as well as counselling and support services in WA.
Where can I get a free or low cost STI test in Western Australia (WA)?
There are actually lots of low to no cost options for an STI test in WA!
1. Websites such as Get the Facts and Could I Have It. These offer a quick, easy, discreet and free STI self-assessment. If your assessment suggests you need a STI test, you can instantly complete a simple PathWest form, which you can then take into any PathWest Centre in WA for a free test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
2. Sexual Health Quarters (SHQ). SHQ is located in Northbridge and offers a range of professional sexual health services including STI testing. They have a drop-in clinic for $10 STI tests from 1.30pm-4.00pm on Mondays to Thursdays for people who aren’t experiencing any symptoms. SHQ tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, and syphilis aswell as Hepatitis A and B depending on current immunity.
3. Bulk billing GPs. Some GPs choose to offer bulk billing services. This is where they bill Medicare directly for a health service and means that you get the service for free. Health Engine allows you to search for a doctor in your area. You can tick the “bulk bill” box to search for doctors that bulk bill their services. Most doctors will test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea and may also offer to test for blood-borne viruses such as HIV. We recommend talking to your doctor to find out what exactly they are testing you for.
There are other clinics in WA (both metro and regional areas) that provide free/low cost STI testing services for young people. Check out our Find a Service search for more clinics like this near you.
Still have more questions?
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