What to expect (when you’re not expecting): A guide to getting an STI test

So, you’re sexually active and you think it might be a good idea to get an STI test (it’s even a good idea to get one if you’re NOT sexually active).

But what’s it going to be like? 
Here’s our #SEXYSAFESEX lowdown on where to go, what to expect and what happens next.

Where to go:

You can get an STI test from most Doctors and medical centres. Most universities will also offer them (free if you’re with Medicare).

You can also get them from Planned Parenthood and dedicated Sexual Health Centres

What to expect:

Depending on what you get tested for (but you may as well ask for the whole package) your Dr. might take a swab of your mouth or genitals, a blood sample, a urine sample and a good ‘ol look around at your junk.

If you’re a woman we’d suggest getting a papsmear while you’re there, two birds one stone.

Doctors generally won’t ask you any unnecessary questions, and you don’t need to answer anything you don’t feel comfortable divulging. The only real answers come from the test results anyway.

Then what: 

You will need to make another appointment to come back to discuss results (it can take up to 10 days). Some clinics offer a text message service if you’re in the clear! However, they tend to push for the follow up appointment.

All clear:

Congratulations! You can continue to have #SEXYSAFESEX

Something came up:

Firstly, it’s not the end of the world. Check out our previous “Meet….” blogs. Many STI’s are treatable with a round of antibiotics. Other STI’s are more serious but it is still possible to have sex with a partner as long as your use a condom and are upfront.
You will need to provide the Doctor or clinic with a list of the people who you have slept with since your last test so they can be anonymously tested.

Apart from that, you can get back to your daily routine. Just make sure that you always use a condom!

Meet HIV

batman

Picture source: http://otakuunited.deviantart.com/art/Wonder-Woman-and-Batman-245922865

Here’s a cute pic of you two at Comic-con 2012 where you met! What happens at Comic-con stay at Comic-con. Right? Unless it’s HIV because that’s for life. 

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens the immune system and eventually causes AIDS if left untreated.

How common is it?
About 50,000 new infections occur each year, with an estimated 1.2 million people already living with HIV. 

What are the symptoms?
Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms and feel healthy. Symptoms don’t usually develop until a person’s immune system has been weakened. The symptoms people experience are usually related to infections and cancers they get due to a weakened immune system.

How do you get it?
Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Also by sharing contaminated needles; and from mother-to-child during pregnancy or breast-feeding. The chance of getting it through kissing is very low.

How do you treat it?
There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. Antiretroviral treatment can slow the progression of HIV disease & delay the onset of AIDS. Early diagnosis & treatment can improve a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier life.

What are the consequences if left untreated?
Increased risk for other life-threatening infections and certain cancers. By weakening the body’s ability to fight disease, HIV makes an infected person more vulnerable to infections that they wouldn’t otherwise get. HIV can also cause infections that anyone can get, such as other STDs and pneumonia, to be much worse. Left untreated, HIV infection develops into AIDS and is a fatal disease.

Get Yourself Tested
Regular HIV testing is recommended for everyone 13-64 years-old. This does not mean though that testing is done automatically, so ask to be tested for HIV. Testing is also recommended for those who have had unprotected sex, a new sex partner, or shared needles or equipment to inject drugs.

Can it be prevented?
There is no vaccine for HIV. Abstaining from sex and sexual contact is the surest way to avoid getting an STD. Using condoms every time greatly reduces the risk of contracting HIV. Get medical treatment immediately if you think you were exposed to HIV. Sometimes, HIV medications can prevent infection if they are started quickly.

 

Please note – models do not have HIV