Get tested quickly

If you're worried you may have an STI the most important thing is to get tested as soon as possible.

It's easy to diagnose and treat most STIs so if you are even slightly worried that you may have one, you should go straight to your local sexual health clinic. These are usually based in hospitals and are called Genito-Urinary Medicine (or GUM) clinic, but you can also get tested at some Brook centres and Contraception and Sexual Health (CASH) clinics.

Don't worry. All services are completely confidential and you can go to any clinic you want, it doesn't have to be your local one. The staff are friendly and they won't judge you. You don't even need to give your name if you don't want to.

The easiest way to find out which one you want to go to is to contact Ask Brook, or look in the phone book under 'GUM' or 'sexual health'.

It's wise to call before going to the GUM clinic to find out:

  • Clinic opening times
  • Where they are
  • Whether you need an appointment or can just walk in

What will a test involve?

Tests for STIs vary. Some can mean just taking a swab from the cervix or tip of the penis with a thing like a large cotton wool bud. Sometimes you can swab yourself, other times a doctor or nurse will do the swab. Others involve taking a blood sample.  Lots of services also offer urine testing for some infections so you may be asked to give a sample of wee for testing.

Before you get tested you can see a health advisor. They can talk you through what will happen with the tests and anything you are worried about. They can also give you information about how to avoid infections in the future.

If you are getting tested for HIV because you are worried that you may have been at risk, you'll usually be offered some counselling before the test. That's to help you prepare for how you may feel and react if the test result is positive.

What happens if my test shows I have an STI?

Most STIs are easily treatable with antibiotics. If you test positive for any STI, your clinic will encourage you to talk to your current partner and sometimes to your previous partners. This is so they can also be tested. The clinic will help you find the best way to talk to other people if you need to.

If you don't want to tell your partner to get tested, a clinic will contact them for you and not even mention your name.

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