What Happens When I Go for an STI Test? in Sex

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Going for an STI test can seem daunting, but it's really nothing to worry about. Check out what to expect when you visit the clinic.

Where can I get an STI test?

You can get tested for sexually transmitted infections at your local sexual health clinic and at some GP surgeries. 

What will happen at my appointment?

The doctor or nurse will ask you some questions about your sex life. Although it might seem embarrassing it's important to be honest, as your answers may affect the advice you're given.

Don't worry anything you say will be kept confidential, unless there is reason to believe you or someone else is at risk.

How are STI tests taken?

Most tests will either involve a swab from the vagina or penis, or a urine sample.

For some tests, such as HIV, a blood sample also needs to be taken.

In some cases a swab may need to be taken from your throat or your bum. 

Swabs can be a little uncomfortable but they won't be painful and it will be over in seconds.

When will I get the test results?

Most results take a few days to a week or two to come back.

Some clinics can offer same-day testing if you have symptoms and some STIs, such as genital warts, can be diagnosed there and then just by how they look.

Are my STI test results definitely accurate?

Most negative results are highly accurate.

Some infections, such as HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis C can take up to 3 months to show up in tests, so if it has been less than 3 months since you had unprotected sex it's a good idea to pop in and get tested for these again at the 3 month mark.

What if I get a positive test result?

Almost all STIs are now treatable with an antibiotic. The clinic will give you advice on what to do next, and can offer to let your current and previous partners know to head in for a test.

Stay STI free by using condoms every time you have sex. You can even get a whole bunch for free from the clinic before you leave!