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When should I test for STIs?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can pass from one person to another during sex. Many people with STIs have no symptoms. If you think you may have an STI then we recommend that you get tested.

The window period is the time from when you catch an infection until the time when the tests can pick it up. The window periods are different for different infections.

If you are in any doubt about window periods, you should do a test now, and another test at a later date.

What is the window period for STIs?

  • Chlamydia: 2 weeks
  • Gonorrhoea: 2 weeks
  • HIV home self test: 12 weeks
  • HIV laboratory test: 7 weeks
  • Hepatitis B: 12 weeks
  • Hepatitis C: Usually 12 weeks but can take up to 6 months
  • Syphilis: 12 weeks

What infections should I test for?

SH:24/Fettle offers tests for HIV, Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. We think that everyone should get tested for these infections when they change partner.

If you are in a higher risk group you may also want to test for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C (see table)

If you have symptoms then we recommend that you visit a clinic where you will be offered a genital examination and additional tests, if needed.

  • Higher risk groups for Hepatitis B: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people whose partners are high risk, sex workers, people who have a family member with Hepatitis B and people born in areas where Hepatitis B is common (Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, East and South East Asia, the Pacific Islands, Southern parts of East and Central Europe, The Indian subcontinent).

  • Higher risk group for Hepatitis C: People who inject drugs, men who have sex with men.

What sexually transmitted infections should I NOT test for?

Some sexually transmitted infections are diagnosed during a clinical examination and we do not recommend testing for these. These include genital herpes, genital warts, pubic lice.

Some organisms are found in the genital area and often cause no problems and we do not recommend routine testing for them. These include mycoplasma genitalium and ureaplasma urealyticum and candida.

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