Good question @Aunt_Flo! It’s true, I found it nerve-wracking the first few times, but now I make a habit of getting STI tests at least every 6 months (or much more frequently if I’ve had unprotected sex with a new or casual partner), even if I don’t have symptoms — SO after several years of getting tested it has now become like second nature to me and ACTUALLY IS SO quick, easy and painless!
@GoldenRose & @sextronaut I usually give both blood and urine samples which means I can get tested for most STIs (e.g. gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis) plus HIV. The process is no different from any other routine blood and urine tests I’ve had. I’ve also had swabs – vaginal, cervical, throat and anal. There is also urethral swabs for people with penises. From my experience having swabs seems to be less routine and is usually only done if I have certain symptoms or ask specifically. Again, i’ve found these to be very quick and painless
My hot tips:
– Try to relax – remember that these tests are totally day-to-day and normal, and remind yourself that you’re doing an awesome thing for your sexual health!
– If you have any worries at all feel free to ASK QUESTIONS, get your health practitioner to explain anything that you don’t understand. No question is a stupid question.
– The first time I went to get an STI test I felt nervous that when I asked my GP for it they would judge me. They didn’t – in fact they responded really positively. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed about! That said, a friend told me about a dodgy experience she had where a doctor’s attitude was scornful to her about having unprotected sex … which was totally uncalled for btw! So if this is something that concerns you, it might be an idea to go to a sexual health clinic rather than a GP, where you’re sure to not be met with any raised eyebrows and have a more supportive experience.
– As @tea suggested, I always say yes to getting tested for as many things as possible – after all its free at a bulk-billing service and then you can sleep easier knowing the result. E.g. usually when I say I want an STI test, the health provider then asks me if I want to test for HIV as well, and I say yes absolutely! If they don’t ask specifically, I double check that they are including HIV.
– Throat swabs can easily be missed out but are just as important! If I’ve had unprotected oral sex I always ask for a throat swab
… Sorry if that was information overload! Lastly, I found the resources @tea linked really great, well worth checking out 🙂