- Not all STIs have noticeable symptoms – the only way to be sure is to get a sexual health test.
- Most STIs are easily treated after being diagnosed, but not all STIs have a cure.
Getting a sexual health test is a simple and effective way to take care of yourself and your sexual partner/s. Everyone who has sex with casual sexual partners should have a sexual health check at least once a year. People who inject drugs should also test regularly.
We’ve put together a map of sites across the ACT offering free or very low-cost tests, making finding, booking and getting a test quick and simple. Some sites offer testing without requiring a Medicare card, and results are often available via SMS. Click on the dark green map menu, or view in full screen to see information about each site, including contact information.
There are a range of different tests available and can include:
- Swabs (oral, anal, and vaginal)
- Urine sample
- Blood sample
- Visual examination (checking for physical symptoms of particular STIs)
During your appointment, the clinician will discuss any behaviour indicating STI risk since your last test to decide which tests to take. Blood samples and oral swabs are collected by the clinician, while urine samples and anal/vaginal swabs are self-collected in privacy.
It is important that you let your clinician know if you have any signs or symptoms that you think might be an STI, or any unusual changes. These changes could include rashes, sores, itches, lumps, unusual smells or discharges. Some STIs such as warts and genital herpes are not tested as part of a standard STI screening unless there are symptoms. So it’s important to be honest with your clinician and understand that they are bound by confidentiality.
In most cases HIV will be screened during any other STI screening, however, HIV can be tested separately. HIV tests can be conducted by:
- Blood test – through all STI clinics and GPs
- Self Testing Kit – available at Meridian
Blood tests can take up to a week for results, while Rapid Test and Self Test results are known within minutes.
REMEMBER: Getting a positive result means you can do something about it and prevent it being passed on to other people! Getting tested is part of being in control of your health, and taking care of yourself and your sexual partner/s.
If you get a positive result, then you will be asked to return to the clinic to discuss your result discuss treatment options or next steps. Some STIs can be quickly cleared with antibiotics or topical treatments. Some STIs cannot be cured but can be managed effectively to minimise any impact on your long term wellbeing.