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 Chanchroid

bondage

 Photosource: http://www.photoree.com/photos/permalink/2564588-17273949@N00

She liked to think of herself as a unique and rare individual, kind of like chanchroid.

Meet Chanchroid… 
Chancroid is a sexually transmissible genital ulcer disease which is rarely seen in Australia. The bacterium that causes chancroid, (Haemophilus ducreyi), is passed from person to person when having anal, oral, or vaginal sex with an infected person. Chancroid is a known risk factor for the transmission of HIV.

What are the symptoms?

After infection, one or more ulcers (sores) develop on the genitals, or around the anus. These ulcers have soft, irregular borders that bleed easily on contact. The ulcers can be very painful in men but women are often unaware of them. Painful lymph glands can occur in the groin, usually only on one side; however, both sides are sometimes affected.
Without treatment the ulcers will increase in size and progressively destroy normal skin. Other bacteria can infect these sores, causing them to become painful and distressing with an unpleasant smell.

How is it spread?

Chancroid is spread by sexual contact. Symptoms usually occur within 4-10 days from exposure to a person infected with chancroid. Symptoms rarely develop earlier than three days or later than 10 days.

Who is at risk?

Chancroid is increasingly disappearing around the world but can still be found in parts of Africa, south west Asia and the Caribbean. There is a close relationship between the occurrence of HIV and the occurrence of chancroid.
Only 8 cases of chancroid have been reported in Australia since 1991. People at risk of chancroid are those who have sex with someone from a country with high rates of the disease.

How is it prevented?

  • Avoid sex with someone who has a visible genital ulcer or sore. If a sexual partner or intended sexual partner has a genital sore or ulcer, advise that person to have a sexual health check
  • Using condoms for vaginal and anal sex significantly reduces the risk of chancroid and other sexually transmitted infections
  • If you are planning to visit or live in a developing country, find out about diseases that occur there and how they are best avoided.

How is it diagnosed?

Because there are a number of causes of genital ulcer disease, the doctor, nurse or health worker will take specimens from the ulcer and collect blood to test for chancroid and other sexually transmitted infections.

How is it treated?

Chancroid is treated with antibiotics. Pain killers may be taken if the ulcers are painful. It is important to complete the course of antibiotics and attend follow-up visits to ensure that the infection has been cured.
If chancroid is not treated, the ulcers will persist and will slowly and progressively get bigger. They can destroy areas of skin and genital tissues and the infected glands can rupture.

 Please note – model does not have chanchroid