Find out what STI and HIV tests are available, and when, how, and where to get tested.
STI testing is available to everyone whenever you need it. It’s not just for after unprotected sex or when you feel at risk. Regular testing is one of the best ways to protect against health issues caused by STIs. It also helps prevent the spread of STIs.
What is STI testing?
Because many STIs don’t show any symptoms, testing is the only way to know if you have an STI. If some STIs are left untreated, they can lead to serious health issues.
There is no one test that covers all STIs.
When to get tested
You can get tested whenever you want or need to. Testing ensures you will receive the right treatment as quickly as possible to prevent further health issues.
Consider getting tested when:
- You have symptoms (remember, not all STIs have symptoms)
- You had sex with someone with an STI or who has symptoms
- You have a new sexual partner
- You or your partner(s) have not been tested in the last three to six months
- You had sex without a condom or a condom broke during sex
Regular testing is recommended as a way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of STIs. Talk to a health care provider if you’re not sure if you should get tested.
The importance of "window periods"
An important part of knowing when to get tested for a particular STI is its "window period." This is the time between getting an infection and when a positive result will show up on a test.
If you get tested too soon after sexual activity, the results may not be accurate. For example you may get negative test results, when in fact you do have an STI.
The window period can range from a few days to six months, depending on the STI and the type of test.
View the window periods for different STI tests.
How do I get tested?
Sexual health clinics provide free testing and diagnosis for STIs and HIV. They can also provide treatment for most STIs. Find a clinic near you.
You can also ask your family doctors/general practitioner for free STI and HIV testing and diagnosis, as well as treatment for most STIs.
Worried about confidentiality?
STI testing is carried out confidentially, and most testing is anonymous if you go to a clinic. HIV tests are slightly different:
- If you are tested for HIV at a sexual health clinic, they will not ask for a care card and will accept the name you provide.
- If you go to a family doctor/general practitioner, your results will be confidential but your name will be connected to the results, so you will not be anonymous.
Read more about testing and confidentiality.