STI Facts
The recommendation is to have a full STI test at least once a year - every 3 months if you have multiple sex partners or casual partners.
STI Facts

Sexual Health Checkups

A full sexual health check-up should include all of the tests listed below. If you don’t have any symptoms a routine check-up should involve a:

  • Blood test for HIV; A rapid test or through a lab
  • Blood test for syphilis; A rapid test or through a lab
  • Blood test for hepatitis A and B (targeted to Gay/Bi men, Maori, Pasifika, People who Inject drugs, incarceration. All gay / bi men should be vaccinated for Hep A and B)
  • Blood test for Hepatitis C (it is recommended HIV-positive men and men who inject drugs should get tested for Hepatitis C once a year);
  • First void urine sample for gonorrhoea and chlamydia;
  • Vaginal swabs for gonorrhoea and chlamydia;
  • Anal swabs for gonorrhoea and chlamydia (even if you aren’t having anal sex as STIs can be transmitted by activities like rimming and fingering);
  • Throat swab for gonorrhoea and chlamydia; and
  • Physical examination for genital herpes, genital warts, pubic lice and scabies.

You may need to ask specifically for some of these tests. If you have symptoms you may be offered different tests.

An STI test can be done regardless of whether you have symptoms or not. For urethral tests (that is, testing for infection in the penis) the type of test you have is determined by the presence or absence of symptoms.

If you do not have any symptoms you will have a urine test. A urine sample is the 'first void urine', the first part of the urine stream.

For rectal or throat (pharyngeal) tests, or when you actually have symptoms from the penis such as discharge or an ulcer or sore, a swab will be taken with what looks like a long cotton bud. Swabs can be taken from the mouth, anus and cock. Swabs of the anus are important even if you aren’t fucked, as STIs can be transmitted by activities like rimming and fingering. Some practitioners will let you take your own anal swabs if this is more comfortable for you. If you are concerned or feel uncomfortable about having swabs taken perhaps go to a sexual health clinic as they do these tests every day. At Body Positive and NZAF you can administer the swabs yourself.

For blood-borne viruses (BBV), such as HIV and hepatitis C, and bacterial diseases such as syphilis you will need to have a blood test. A small vial of blood will be taken for testing. Rapid testing is available at Body Positive and NZAF with results available immediately.

With all testing it is important to specify what you want to be tested for, as health care workers cannot test for STIs and BBVs without your permission. Talk to your practitioner if you are unsure what to be tested for. Test results can take up to seven to ten days to come back and you may need to make another appointment to receive these results in person, particularly for tests such as HIV.
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