Getting tested for STIs? Here’s how!
Do you need to get an STI test? How do you know?
Regular STI testing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your sexual partners from STIs. STIs don’t always have symptoms, so if you have more than one sexual partner, it’s a good idea to get tested regularly — even if you don’t think you need to.
1. Go to a doctor you feel comfortable with
You can go to your regular doctor for an STI test, but they may not be familiar with the specific needs of guys who have sex with guys. You’ll need to ask for a comprehensive sexual health test and be ready to discuss your sex life honestly.
A dedicated sexual health service may be a better option, because they’ll have staff with specialist knowledge and experience around sexual health and STI testing. Just remember, doctors are there for your health and wellbeing, and not to judge you or your choices. Not sure about how to ask your doctor for the right tests? Here’s how!
To find a sexual health service near you, use our interactive map. And be sure to check out our guide on Finding a gay-friendly doctor: how to get the right healthcare for you.
2. Get informed about STI testing and your health
Read up on HIV and the most common STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. The Emen8 Knowledge Hub has everything you need to know about these and other STIs, including symptoms, treatment and testing.
3. Get tested every three months for the most common STIs
If you’re HIV-negative, get tested every three months (at least four times a year) for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. If you can’t or don’t want to visit a doctor in person, you can also test for HIV at home with a self-test kit.
If you’re living with HIV, remember to get full STI tests along with your regular viral load checks.
4. Don’t forget about hepatitis
If you’re not vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, ask your doctor how you can get the combination vaccine. If you’re not sure whether you’ve been vaccinated, your doctor can test for your current protection against hepatitis along with your other STI tests.
You should also get tested at least once a year for hepatitis C. Hepatitis C has a window period of up to 3 months, which means it may not show up on a test if you’ve acquired it recently.
5. If you’re monogamous, get tested once a year
Even if you don’t have more than sexual partner, it’s recommended for you and your regular partner to check in on your sexual health once a year anyway. It’s good for peace of mind and an opportunity to discuss any other health matters while you’re with a doctor.
So there you have it — get tested, get treated (if necessary), and get back in the game!