Luckily, getting an STI check is very easy, and you can even bring someone else along for support. There are also some self-test options available in Victoria, depending on your situation.
If you’re sexually active, try to get tested at least once every 12 months - or more, depending on who you’re having sex with and how often.
You might also want to get tested if:
In an appointment, the doctor or nurse will ask you some questions so they can decide how best to treat you. Even though it can feel awkward, these are important questions - the more they know, the more they can help. These questions might focus on:
And remember, all your medical information remains confidential.
If your doctor or nurse decides you need any tests, they should explain what they’re doing and ask for your consent first. They won't look at your body unless they have to. Most tests involve a urine sample or blood test - usually they’re very quick and easy. Sometimes they will happen on the day, other times you might need to wait, or go somewhere else to get the tests done.
How you get your test results will depend on the clinic you go to. In some cases, you might not have to go back to the clinic again until your next check- up - many clinics have a “no news is good news” policy - which means, if you don’t hear back from them, you’re all clear! Some clinics will be happy to tell you your results over the phone, but others might ask you to come in for another chat.
It’s important that if your results come back positive, you must tell anyone you have had recent unprotected sexual contact with. This is called “partner notification”, and this is something the clinic can help you with. This lets your sexual partner(s) know to get tested/ treated, and may also prevent you from getting infected again. Other than talking to them face to face or on the phone, there are other ways you can contact recent sexual partner(s). Sometimes, your clinic can anonymously let someone know for you, or you can use an online service and remain anonymous if you want.
You can get an STI check at your GP, sexual health or community health centre.
Stay STI Free – this website provides information and support regarding symptoms of STIs, how urgent symptoms might be, what tests may be required, where to go for testing and STI fact sheets translated into 8 different languages.
ISpy STI – this website has an easy to use, sexual health symptom checker for people who may have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It uses data from the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.
TESTme is a free service of Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) for rural Victorians aged 25 years and younger, rural Victorian men who have sex with men and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A self-testing kit will be posted to you with clear instructions, swabs and containers—to test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Let Them Know— this website includes examples of conversations, emails, text messages (SMS) or letters you can use in informing your partner(s) of results. It even allows you to send an SMS or email to your partner(s) directly from the site, either personally or anonymously or if you prefer, you can ask your doctor to help.
The Drama Down Under— this website is designed for gay men and men who have sex with men. It can send an email or SMS text message to let sexual partner(s) know they may have been exposed and how to get tested. You don’t need to provide your name or contact details to use this free and confidential service.
Better To Know— this website is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with resources to assist partner notification, including the ability to send an anonymous SMS to notify potential contacts.
HIVTest.au — a free, accessible, and discreet HIV self-testing kit delivery service that provides one year’s worth of HIV self-testing kits to people living in Australia aged over 18 years.