My test result is positive.  What should I do?

Thousands of people test positive for STDs (or STIs) every day, and the good news is that once you know your status you can get the medical treatment that you need to prevent and minimise any long term health complications.

You have a choice of what to do next.

  • Better2Know can arrange a consultation with one our doctors. Our doctor can advise you on the appropriate next steps and treatment for the STI(s) you have tested positive for.
  • You can also choose to take your results to your own doctor or pharmacist who will be able to advise on treatment.
  • You can ask Better2Know what treatment is right for you.

It is important to get treated even if you have no symptoms, as you can still pass the infection on to your partner.  Untreated infections may also cause long term health problems and may impact on your fertility. In order to best protect your health, and treat the infection, it is important to be prescribed the right medication for you.

You should also contact all recent and ex-partners to tell them what you have tested positive for. It is the responsible thing to do, and could protect their health and fertility too. It is always Better2Know.

Chlamydia, Syphilis, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Gardnerella and Trichomonas

If you test positive for any of these infections, they are typically treated and cured with antibiotics. Better2Know can help you to access the appropriate medication for you. The exact medication does depend on which STI you have tested positive for, whether you are pregnant, and your own tolerances to antibiotics.

Gonorrhoea

If you test positive for Gonorrhoea then it can usually be cured with antibiotics.  There are some worldwide occurrences of drug-resistant Gonorrhoea.  It is important to treat Gonorrhoea with two different antibiotics at the same time.  This is usually one oral antibiotic (a pill) and one injection.  Two weeks later, you should have another test to check that the medication worked.  This is called a "test of cure".  If it did not, then a different antibiotic should be tried.

Herpes

There are two types of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV).Your Better2Know test will tell you which, if any, you have. HSV (I) is the strain that commonly causes “cold sores” - sores around the lips of the mouth. The HSV (II) strain is the viral type that typically causes Genital Herpes.

There is currently no medication available to eliminate the virus from the body. There are many treatments which are very effective at reducing both the severity and frequency of any outbreaks. So the good news is that these outbreaks can be managed, and there are creams and medications available to keep the outbreaks under control with reduced symptoms. Many of the medications for Herpes Type 1 are available over the counter.

You are most likely to pass the virus on when you have symptoms, so you should abstain or practice safe sex with a condom during this time. If you test positive for Herpes, and need medication to control your outbreaks, then your Better2Know doctor will be able to prescribe the right treatment for you.

Hepatitis B

If you test positive for Hepatitis B your Better2Know doctor will advise you to see a specialist.  They will carry out further tests to see the effect the virus is having on your body.  They will be able to advise on the best treatment options for you. You can decide whether to continue with your Better2Know doctor or with your own choice of doctor. The majority of people who test positive find that their immune system will fight off the virus on its own, but careful monitoring of the infection is always necessary.

If the disease is more advanced, you may be referred to a specialist who will be able to provide the right treatment for you.  Treatment is an antiviral medication, which will be prescribed.  The course can last up to six months during which time you will receive regular support and monitoring. This should clear the virus from your body.  You can then continue to lead your normal life.

Regardless of whether the infection is producing symptoms or not, you are advised to avoid alcohol, get plenty of rest and maintain a healthy diet.

Hepatitis C

If you test positive for Hepatitis C your Better2Know doctor will advise you to see a specialist who will carry out further tests to see the effect the virus is having on your body and the best treatment options for you. You can decide whether to continue this treatment with your Better2Know doctor or through your own doctor. The majority of people who test positive find that their immune system will fight off the virus on its own, but careful monitoring of the infection is always necessary.

Treatment may include antiviral drugs to help your body combat the effects of the virus. You will be advised to have regular check-ups to monitor your reaction to the drugs.  There are a number of new treatments available which have few side effects, and have proven to be highly effective in eliminating the Hepatitis C virus.

HPV/ Genital Warts/ Cervical Cancer

Better2Know can test you for the HPV virus.  Your body can often clear many HPV infections on its own.   HPV infections can be spread to new partners and there are some types which need medical attention.

Sexually transmitted HPVs fall into two categories:

  • Low-risk HPVs which do not cause cancer but can cause skin warts on or around the genitals or anus. For example, types 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts.
  • High-risk HPVs, which can cause cancer. Fourteen high-risk HPV types have been identified. Two of these (types 16 and 18) are responsible for the majority of HPV-caused cancers.

Just because you test positive for HPV - even if it is a high risk type - it does not mean that you will go on to develop cervical cancer. You will be referred to a specialist (available through your Better2Know clinic or your own doctor) who will be able to recommend follow up tests and advise you on the most appropriate treatment.

If you have a confirmed genital wart then this can be removed (usually through cryotherapy – which involves freezing the infected cells).  There are also creams that can be prescribed to help remove warts, reduce their symptoms and prevent their reoccurrence.

HIV

With early identification and appropriate treatment, HIV is no longer a life threatening virus. You should test regularly, so that if you test positive you can start your treatment early.  This is the best thing you can do for your long term health. Many people do not even have to start taking medication straight away, but you should start to monitor the effects of the virus as soon as possible. Better2Know can detect HIV from as early as ten days after any exposure.

Better2Know can work with you to help you get the support and advice you need on this life changing virus. The first steps would be to speak to a doctor to understand what this means, and the steps you need to take to protect your health and the health of your partner.  They will also suggest further testing: a viral load and a CD4 count so that the right medication can be prescribed for you, and your condition monitored.

There are also Apps and WebPages now to help you manage and monitor you condition so that you can take control of the virus and maintain your health and lifestyle.