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 Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a serious condition, in women. 1 in 8 women with a history of PID experience difficulties getting pregnant. You can prevent PID if you know how to protect yourself.

dr

Photosource: http://curt-rice.com/2012/05/14/a-sex-point-or-two-for-male-nurses/

This one is all on you (kinda). You thought something might be wrong, you were a little uncomfortable, but you’re of the “if it aint broke don’t fix it” school of thought. You only visit the Doc if something is really up. You left this one a little too long though.

Meet Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)  

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs. It is a complication often caused by some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Other infections that are not sexually transmitted can also cause PID.

How do I get PID?

You are more likely to get PID if you

  • Have an STD and do not get treated;
  • Have more than one sex partner;
  • Have a sex partner who has sex partners other than you;
  • Have had PID before;
  • Are sexually active and are age 25 or younger;
  • Douche;
  • Use an IUD for birth control.

How can I reduce my risk of getting PID?

The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting PID:

  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;
  • Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

How do I know if I have PID?

There are no tests for PID. A diagnosis is usually based on a combination of your medical history, physical exam, and other test results. You may not realize you have PID because your symptoms may be mild, or you may not experience any symptoms. However, if you do have symptoms, you may notice

  • Pain in your lower abdomen;
  • Fever;
  • An unusual discharge with a bad odor from your vagina;
  • Pain and/or bleeding when you have sex;
  • Burning sensation when you urinate; or
  • Bleeding between periods.

You should

  • Be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms;
  • Promptly see a doctor if you think you or your sex partner(s) have or were exposed to an STD;
  • Promptly see a doctor if you have any genital symptoms such as an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when peeing, or bleeding between periods;
  • Get a test for chlamydia every year if you are sexually active and 25 years of age or younger;
  • Have an honest and open talk with your health care provider if you are sexually active and ask whether you should be tested for other STDs.

Can PID be cured?

Yes, if PID is diagnosed early, it can be treated. However, treatment won’t undo any damage that has already happened to your reproductive system. The longer you wait to get treated, the more likely it is that you will have complications from PID. While taking antibiotics, your symptoms may go away before the infection is cured. Even if symptoms go away, you should finish taking all of your medicine. Be sure to tell your recent sex partner(s), so they can get tested and treated for STDs, too. It is also very important that you and your partner both finish your treatment before having any kind of sex so that you don’t re-infect each other.

You can get PID again if you get infected with an STD again. Also, if you have had PID before, you have a higher chance of getting it again.

What happens if I don’t get treated?

If diagnosed and treated early, the complications of PID can be prevented. Some of the complications of PID are

  • Formation of scar tissue both outside and inside the fallopian tubes that can lead to tubal blockage;
  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb);
  • Infertility (inability to get pregnant);
  • Long-term pelvic/abdominal pain.

Meet Pubic Lice (Crabs)

dreadlocks

http://www.omnilexica.com/?q=dreadlock

There was a time period when you were right into fire twirling, harems pants and trips to Thailand. You noticed each other on the slow boat to Koh Phangan. She was reading The Beach, you had a copy of Shantaram nestled under your arm. Pretty soon she was nestled there while you shared a mushroom shake up on that mountain with all the fluoro pictures of fairies. Unfortunately she also shared something else with you…..

Meet Pubic Lice (Crabs) 

Pubic lice, or crab lice, infest pubic hair. They can also sometimes affect the hair of the armpit, eyebrows, eyelashes, beard and torso. The infection is also called pediculosis pubis and the lice are called Phthirus pubis.

Pubic lice are small, flat, light-brown parasites that cling to pubic hair and suck blood for nourishment. Blood sucking from pubic lice can cause small red areas or sores and itching. Pubic lice are usually sexually transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact, including sexual activity. However, they can also be spread by contact with towels, undergarments and bedding of an infected person.

Lice infestation causes no serious harm, but can be irritating. If you have pubic lice, it is a good idea to get tested for other sexually transmissible infections.

Symptoms of pubic lice

The main symptom is itching of the affected area. This is often worse at night. Lice and nits (eggs from the lice) can sometimes be seen, especially stuck to the pubic hairs. Some people have no symptoms and may be unaware of the lice infestation.

Diagnosis of pubic lice

Pubic lice are diagnosed by careful inspection of the affected area.

Treatment of pubic lice

Topical creams or lotions containing permethrin (for example, Lyclear cream or Quellada lotion) and applied to the affected area are the most commonly recommended treatment. See your doctor, pharmacist or sexual health centre for further advice.

Permethrin should not be applied to the eyelashes. If this area is affected, discuss an alternative treatment such as petroleum jelly with your doctor.

Treatment tips

Treatment for public lice will be more effective if a few simple guidelines are followed, including:

  • Usually the whole body from neck to toes should be treated, including the perineum (the skin between the vagina and the anus) and the anal area.
  • Read and follow the instructions on the medication carefully.
  • The skin should be cool, clean and dry when the cream is applied.
  • Apply the cream and leave it on overnight. It can be washed off the next morning. You don’t need to apply the cream to head hair.
  • Wash clothing, towels and bedding at the same time as treatment (hot machine washing and drying is sufficient).
  • The treatment should be repeated after one to two weeks as it is not effective against unhatched eggs. Eggs hatch in 6–10 days.
  • Avoid close personal contact until you and your sexual contacts or partner are treated.

Symptoms may take a few days to settle. If you still have symptoms one week after treatment, you should see your doctor for review.

Sexual partners should be treated for pubic lice

Any sexual partners you have had over the last month will need to be examined and treated. Current sexual partners should be treated at the same time that you are. Condoms do not protect you against pubic lice.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Local community health centre

Things to remember

  • Pubic lice are usually sexually transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact.
  • Pubic lice do not voluntarily leave the body and will need to be treated with a cream or lotion that contains permethrin.
  • Do not use insecticides used in the home as these will not work and can damage the skin.
  • Lice infestation causes no serious harm, but it is advisable to be tested for other sexually transmissible infections.