Being sexually active is amazing but can also come with risks. Whether you have a one night stand or become active with a new partner, you don’t honestly know where they’ve been before.
Condoms are the only way to protest you against sexually transmitted diseases but let’s face it, an awful lot of people don’t use them and accidents also happen.
For that reason, it is important to get tested regularly.
What is an STI test?
The test checks you for sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
Many STI’S don’t have signs or symptoms so you would have no clue if you had one. The only way to be sure is to get tested.
Testing is available to any one, any sex, any age and at any time. You get tested through your GP or at a sexual health clinic.
What happens during one?
The length of time it takes depends on what you are being tested for but they are usually quick and easy.
The nurse or doctor will give you a quick consultation to start and ask you some questions about your sexual activity.
Answering these questions can seem a little embarrassing but they are not there to judge so be open and honest.
Most tests involve a swab of the area. A speculum will be inserted into your vagina which can feel a little tight but not painful and then they gently take a swab from inside.
Some times you are also required to provide a urine sample but this is becoming less common.
To test for more serious things, a blood sample may be taken. Based on your consultation, you will be advised whether you need one but the decision is still up to you. This can sometimes be drawn from the arm or may even be a simple finger prick.
What happens next?
As testing is quick, simple and painless you can carry on with your day as normal.
Your results will be available with in a week but on some occasions, you can actually receive results the same or next day.
The clinic will ask you before the appointment is over how you would prefer to receive your results.
If you’re all clear, perfect! Nothing to worry about for now but get tested if you ever feel at risk again.
If you test positive for something, you will need to receive treatment. Most STI’s are simple and can be treated with a quick round of antibiotics.
For something more serious like HIV, there is no cure but there are treatments available and you can still live a normal healthy life.
The doctor or nurse will discuss treatment with you and talk you through your options.
You will also need to tell any sexual partners if you test positive. This is best to come from you but obviously can be an awkward conversation.
If you feel really uncomfortable telling your partner(s), the clinic can do it for you. This is called partner notification and the clinic won’t reveal who you are.
For more information, visit the NHS information to learn about STI’s and testing.
Remember, the only way to protect yourself is through using condoms. Stay safe girls!
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