Even though it’s a normal part of a healthy and enjoyable sex life, getting an STI test can sometimes feel daunting. To show that there’s really nothing to worry about, we sat down with Melissa* from Sydney to talk about her first-hand experience of getting tested.
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I was dating this guy for a while and the condom came off during sex. I’m on the contraceptive implant (Implanon) so I knew I didn’t need to worry about an unwanted pregnancy, but getting tested for STIs was a must.
I thought I was at fairly low risk as we stopped sex as soon as we noticed what had happened and put another condom on. But, it still counted as unprotected sex, so I know I needed to get an STI test and booked one in a few weeks later. To be honest, I tend to get a test every 6-12 months anyway, just for peace of mind, so it was nothing new for me.
I went to my local GP in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. In fact – this was the first thing that I went to see my new doctor about as I’d just moved house! I felt a bit nervous because I’m pretty good when it comes to safe sex and I always worry that someone will judge me for making a mistake.
But truthfully, there was nothing to worry about. My doctor couldn’t care less – she’d seen it all before and just wanted to make sure that I got the tests I needed. There were no lectures and no judgement. She also checked in with me in terms of contraception to make sure I had nothing to worry about there.
As I get tested regularly, I already knew what tests I needed and I asked for a full STI test; including a blood test. If you’re not sure what you need, don’t worry. The doctor will ask a few questions to work out what’s right for you.
I had everything! I reckon it’s way better to just get everything tested in one visit. I had gonorrhea and chlamydia tested via a quick pee in a cup (I’ve also had it done via a vaginal swab in the past, either way is fine). I also had HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B checked through blood tests. I’m not a fan of needles so I looked away and counted to 30 and it was done. My GP didn’t have a pathology lab on site, so I had to go next door to get these done. They’re located all over NSW, so if your doctor doesn’t have one they’ll send you to one close by.
Absolutely nothing. My GP bulk bills and I have a Medicare card – with this there is no cost at all for any of the tests or any of the doctor’s appointments. Pretty amazing when you think about it.
I received a text message about my results, which is how I usually get them. Everything was negative, which means I didn’t have an infection. Happy days!
I’m not sure if text message alerts are common across the whole of NSW, so you should definitely check with your own GP about when and how you’ll get your results.
I got the text message two days after the tests, but it could have taken up to five working days apparently.
Just do it. Seriously, it’s so quick and easy and it’s such an ordinary thing for doctors to deal with. Plus, sex is better too – you know that you’re healthy and you can just focus on having fun and enjoying yourself.
*name has been changed.