This National Condom Day we are recognising four different themes which contribute to safe and pleasurable sexual experiences; condom use; consent; pleasure and; STI testing.
We often hear people say they are worried or feel shame about getting tested for STIs, that’s why for National Condom Day this year one of our slogans is ‘don’t worry, pea happy’.
No one should ever feel embarrassed or too scared to go get an STI test – getting an STI test is just one of the ways you can look after both yours and your partner’s health.
So let’s talk about what an STI test is all about!
First off, what is an STI?
STIs (Sexually Transmissible Infections) are infections that can be passed on when someone with an STI has anal, oral or vaginal sex with someone else. One of the people involved has to have the STI in the first place, having sex doesn’t ‘create’ an STI.
Why is getting an STI test important?
Not all STIs have symptoms, meaning you might have an STI and not even be aware. STIs can have long-term effects on your health if left untreated, but thankfully are really easy to test, treat and cure.
One of the ways we can prevent the transmission of STIs and protect ourselves and our partners is through STI testing. You should get an STI test at least once a year or more often if you are changing sexual partners.
Where can I get an STI test?
Your local doctor, health service, or sexual health clinic (like SHQ) offer STI testing! If you are ever unsure, visit couldihaveit.com.au to check out STI testing locations near you.
What is involved in an STI test?
STI testing is very simple! The doctor will ask you a few questions about what types of sex you’ve been having, if you have any symptoms and when you last had an STI test.
A lot of people think that an STI test involves a doctor or nurse viewing, touching, poking or prodding around their genitals – this is certainly not the case.
Often the test is a simple urine test where you will be given a jar to pee in. Sometimes STI testing might involve a swab from the anus or vagina. If this is the case, you can ask to do your own swab in private.
Sometimes an STI test also involves a blood sample to test for BBVs (Blood Borne Viruses) like Hepatitis B and HIV. It is just like every other blood test – they just take blood from your arm.
What happens after my test?
After handing in the test samples, you need to wait about a week or two before getting the results back. This might involve a phone call or going back to the service that tested you to find out your results.
It is normal to feel a bit anxious about going to get a STI test and it is normal to feel anxious about getting your results back.
Just remember that…
- The person asking you questions is a professional, and the answers you give are confidential, they only ask them so they have an understanding of how to best help you.
- If you get a positive result for an STI, most STIs are really easily treatable and curable!
- Using barrier methods such as condoms or dams can reduce your risk of getting or passing on an STI.
- There is nothing wrong with looking after yourself and getting an STI test.