Not all STIs have any symptoms, so the only way to know is to get a sexual health test. Most STIs are easily treated after being tested, but not all have a cure.
It is important if you or your partner have casual sexual partners to get regular sexual health test so that if there are any present, they can be treated appropriately. Some STIs can increase the chances of getting HIV, or if you are living with HIV, make it easier to transmit.
Everyone who has sex with casual sexual partners should have a full sexual health check at least once a year. People who inject drugs also should be tested regularly.
Where to Test
Many people choose to use their regular family GP. If you would prefer not to, there are other places that you can get tested in Canberra. All locations are friendly to people who identify as LGBTIQ, sex workers and people who inject drugs:
- STRIP Sexual Health Clinic \ Turner
Free service held monthly at Havelock House
- MClinic at Canberra Hospital \ Woden
After hours STI checks for gay and bisexual men
- Canberra Sexual Health Centre \ Woden
Free, no Medicare card, insurance or appointment required
- Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT \ City
- Interchange General Practice \ City
Fee for service - Booking required
- Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service \ Narrabundah
Aboriginal community controlled primary health care service
Some of these services offer free or low-cost screening. Contact them or follow the links for more information.
- There are a range of different tests available and can include:
- Swabs (oral, anal and vaginal)
- Urine sample
- Blood sample
- Rapid HIV Testing
When you have your appointment, the clinician will discuss any risks of getting STIs, HIV or viral Hepatitis since your last test. This is to work out which tests are recommended.
Some samples will be collected by the clinician, such as oral swabs and blood. Urine samples and anal/vaginal swabs can be 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 could be rashes, lesions, 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.
You can get most of your results within 24 hours to a week, depending on the tests and where you get it done. Your clinician will discuss with you how you would like to get your results. This could be face to face, over the phone or via SMS.
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.
If you get a positive result, and you are not already at the clinic, then you will be asked to come in and discuss your result. This might be because more testing is needed, or because they would like to discuss what needs to happen now. Some STIs can be cleared with specific antibiotics or treatments like creams or freezing off warts. Some however cannot be cured, but they can be treated so the impact they have on you in the long-term is more easily managed.