Which test is right for me? Situations that may lead to concern
We have compiled some suggestions for STI testing based on our most common questions. Below are some examples of situations which may prompt concern. They apply to women and men. To help you choose the right test, experts at Better2Know have recommended which tests would be most appropriate for each set of circumstances. Everyone's circumstances are different and it is your responsibility to choose the most suitable tests depending on your lifestyle, sexual behaviour, and what you know about your partner. If you are unsure then we recommend the Better2Know Full Screen or Platinum Screen.
Remember that once is enough to catch an STD, STI or HIV. Professional testing on a regular basis is the only responsible way to manage your sexual health.
'I had sex with a sex worker'
Intercourse or intimate contact with a Sex Worker is one of the most high risk sexual activities because of the large number of partners that each worker has. Many clients visit more than one Sex Worker so it is easy to see how infection can be spread quickly. Female Sex Workers are one of the groups with the highest prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
If you have had sex with a Sex Worker then we recommend the Better2Know Platinum Screen or Full Screen as you should be tested for a wide range of STIs. You have the option to be tested for HIV.
'I had a one night stand and I need a test quickly before I pass anything on to my partner'
Please do not have sex with your partner until you receive your test results. We have an incubation period or 'window period' for all our tests - this is the minimum time that needs to pass before any STI or STD will be detectable but you can still transmit an infection in this period of time. When you want results as quickly as possible we suggest you choose a Better2Know screen that can detect infections with the shortest incubation period. These are:
- Early Detection Screen (at 10 days after any incident) for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C and HIV
- Peace of Mind screen (at 14 days after any incident) for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis
- Early Platinum Screen (14 days after any exposure). This is our most comprehensive screen covering up to 11 individual sexually transmitted infections.
'We just touched a lot, but we didn’t have sex'
There are some STIs and STDs that can be passed on through bodily contact alone. It is unlikely that you will catch or pass on HIV or Hepatitis unless there was blood present, but you may have caught another infection such as HPV. HPV is one of the most common STIs which can be passed on through touch.
In addition to causing Genital Warts in men and women, HPV can cause cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men. It is also linked to cancers of the mouth, throat, and anus. HPV testing is available for women at any time. Men must have a visible wart or request a urethral or anal swab.
Two types of Herpes, Type I (usually found around the mouth) and Type II (usually found in the genitals) can be passed on when touching an infected area. Better2Know can test for Herpes by blood (if you have no symptoms), a urine sample, or a swab of the area if you do have symptoms.
Syphilis could also have be passed on by touch if your partner had an open Syphilis sore.
If you have developed a lump, blister or bump that you are not sure about then Better2Know would recommend the Blemish Screen which will take a swab sample of the area and test for a range of infections.
'I had a needle stick injury'
Needle stick injuries are caused when a healthcare worker accidentally has skin broken or a puncture wound from a needle or syringe. They can also occur with professionals (e.g. social care and legal staff) who work with patients in health or social care setting. There is a risk that needles used in healthcare or other professional roles may have become infected by a patient or by another source.
A fast response is needed. Try to access PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) within 72 hours of the injury. The sooner the better. PEP is a course of antiviral medicines that can minimise your chances of contracting HIV if you have come into contact with the virus. You should also try to get a Hepatitis B vaccine as prophylaxis against Hepatitis B. With needle stick injuries the most common concern is around bloodborne STIs and STDs which include HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and, less frequently, syphilis.
Better2Know recommends our Early Detection Screen for needle stick injuries at 10 days after the incident. You can choose to include Syphilis testing along with this screen and the HIV element is optional. It is recommended that you follow the Early Detection Screen 28 days later, and again at 8 to 12 weeks, with further tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
'I think we slept together, I cannot really remember what happened'
If you do not remember what happened and have got no symptoms or outward signs of infection, then Better2Know would suggest you choose our Full Screen.
If you have blemish, spot, lump or blister then we would suggest that you have a Blemish Screen which will take a swab of the area you are concerned about and test you for Herpes, HPV and Syphilis.
If you are female and have unusual discharge or odour then we would suggest a Urine Culture screen or a vaginal swab.
'We want to have a baby' or 'I have been asked to be a sperm donor'
Before considering having a baby it is really important to be certain that you are not carrying any sexually transmitted infections. STIs or STDs can be passed on to your baby before they are born, causing problems with the pregnancy. They can also make it more difficult for you to get pregnant at all. If you are considering donating sperm then you should also get tested to be certain you are not passing any infection on to the mother.
Both biological parents should have a Platinum Screen. Women should also be tested for HPV. The Platinum screen will pick up the most common STIs which are very important when planning a family. If you test positive for any infections you can start trying to have a baby only after any appropriate treatment has been completed.
HIV testing is an important test to have before you are pregant. If left untreated, an HIV infection can lead to serious complications for a baby and be passed on to the unborn child. Before pregnancy, the right treatment for HIV can minimise the chances of passing on the infection to your baby.
'I have found out I am pregnant: What should I do now?'
Having a Platinum Screen and HPV test (for the mum) will help to protect your baby, and help your pregnancy.
'We only slept together once'
It only takes one incident of intimate contact to catch an STI or STD. The probability is higher if you have multiple partners, but if you sleep with someone without knowing whether they are infected, then once is all it takes.
If you have no symptoms or no outward signs of infection, then Better2Know would suggest the Full STI screen. If you have a blemish, spot, lump or blister then we would suggest that you have a Blemish Screen. If you are female and have unusual discharge or odour then we would suggest the Comfort Screen.
'My ex-partner has told me they have a genital infection: What should I do?'
Try to find out what they have tested positive and negative for. If they have tested positive for one STI or STD there is a chance they have more than one, but they may not have been tested for the full range of STDs and STIs.
We suggest that you choose the Better2Know test(s) for whatever your ex-partner has tested positive for. If you are not sure, or do not want to ask, then Better2Know recommends the Full Screen.
'The condom broke'
Both you and your partner should have a Better2Know Full Screen as when a condom breaks during sexual contact. Any infection could go both ways. If you think that your risk of HIV is low, you may want to consider the Peace of Mind test which tests for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis at just 14 days after the incident you are concerned about.
'We had anal sex'
It is very easy to pass on STDs and STIs, including HIV, through anal sex as the lining of the rectum is very thin and delicate and so small tears and cuts are quite common. Better2Know would suggest a Platinum Screen or Full Screen.
'I gave someone oral sex'
It is possible to catch an STI by giving someons oral sex. Better2Know would suggest you choose t tests for Herpes, Syphilis, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea test.
If you are worried that you had a cut in your mouth then there is a possibility of HIV transmission you can choose to take an HIV test.
'Someone gave me oral sex'
Some infections can be transmitted through mouth contact with the genitals. This is more likely if the person whose mouth made contact had a cut or sore in their mouth or the genitals had a cut or sore. Some common infections that can be spread orally are Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Herpes. Rarely HIV is spread through oral sex. We would suggest that you have a test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Herpes and you can choose to take an HIV test.