What do you need to know about testing?

If you suspect that you’ve contracted a sexually transmitted disease, you must certainly get yourself tested. Testing is the only way to find out if you are infected.

Many STDs can progress without any visible symptoms or complaints, so many people are unaware that they are infected. Nevertheless, the infection can affect your health and be transmitted to other people. Therefore, it would be good to test yourself regularly even if you have no signs or symptoms of infection.

Testing also gives you peace of mind and more control over your health.

Remember that testing provides information about the situation at the time of testing and the results expire after the next sexual intercourse.

If you have an active sex life, you should test yourself regularly.

Testing itself offers no protection at present or in the future. Condoms provide the most efficient protection against STDs, including HIV.

What should you keep in mind when testing?

If you go to a health centre to get yourself tested, make sure you get the right places on your body checked, as the infection could be in the throat, penis or anus. You don’t have to tell the doctor exactly how you had sex. Just say which parts of your body should be tested.

It’s important to say where you need to be tested.

  • If you’ve had anal sex, you need to get the following body parts checked:
    • the anus if you were passive,
    • the penis if you were active.
  • If you’ve had oral sex, you need to get the following body parts checked:
    • the throat if you gave oral sex,
    • the penis if you were given oral sex.
  • If you’ve had vaginal sex, you need to get your penis checked.

Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, mycoplasmosis are transmitted primarily through mucous membranes, which are in your urethra, under the edge of the head of the penis, under the foreskin (if you have it), in the anus and the throat.

  • When you have your penis tested, you have to provide a urine sample in a plastic cup or the doctor will take a sample from the urethra with a small swab.
  • A cotton swab is rubbed against the inside of the rectum when your anus is tested.
  • The doctor takes a light swab from the back of your mouth to test your throat.

You have to give a blood sample if you’re getting yourself tested for HIV, syphilis or viral hepatitis (hepatitis A, B and C). The swab will be sent to a lab for analysis and the results usually arrive in three days.

There is also an HIV rapid test, which gives you a result in a couple of minutes. However, you must keep in mind that it can take up to three months after infection before HIV can be detected with a rapid test.