Overview

This page is to help you to choose the right STD, STI and HIV tests for you.  However everyone's circumstances are different, and it is your responsibility to choose the tests that are right for you depending on your sexual activity and what you know about your partner. If you are unsure then Better2Know recommends a Full STD screen or the Platinum Screen. Once is enough to catch an STD, STI or HIV.

I’ve had oral sex

Certain STIs can be transmitted through the mouth, this is more likely if the person who performed oral sex had a cut or sore in their mouth or if you have a cut or sore on your genitals.  Most commonly these are Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, but can also include HIV although that is rare.  We would suggest that you have a Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and an HIV test. If you think the person who performed oral sex had a cold sore, then we would also suggest a herpes test.

I had sex with a sex worker

Sexual intercourse with a sex worker is one of the most high risk sexual activities there are, because of the large number of partners that each sex worker has and many clients visit more than one sex worker, so it is easy to see how infection can be spread quickly. 

Some sex workers are also injecting drug users which can increase their chances of being infected with an STI or HIV which is passed on by sharing blood (by sharing needles).  If you have had sex with a sex worker, have reason to suspect they might be a drug user, you did not use a condom, you had an open cut or sore on your genitals and/ or there were blisters or sores on your partner, then you should consider the Better2Know Platinum screen or the Better2Know Full Screen.  If your incident was less than 28 days ago you can have the Early Platinum Screen which can detect the widest range of STIs including HIV at just 14 days.

I had a one night stand and I need results quickly before I pass anything on to my partner

The first thing is that you should not have sex with anyone until you get tested, and your results confirm that you did not contract an STD.  We have an incubation or window period for all our tests - this is the time that needs to pass before any STI or STD will be detectable, but you can still transmit any infection during this period.  In this situation, when you want results as quickly as possible we would recommend our screens that can detect infections with the shortest incubation period.  These are:

  • Early Platinum Screen (at 14 days after any incident): Early Detection (above), Comfort (above) and syphilis - results in 5 days from when the sample is received in the laboratory.
  • Early Detection Screen (at 10 days after any incident) for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C - results in 3 days from when the sample is received in the laboratory.
  • Comfort Screen (a urine only STD screen at 14 days after any incident) for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Herpes I and II (current infection), mycoplasma, ureaplasma, trichomonas and gardnerella - results in 5 days from when the sample is received in the laboratory.
  • Peace of Mind (at 14 days after any incident) for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis - results in 2 days from when the sample is received in the laboratory.

You may also wish to consider Better2Know's wide range of Instant tests for six STIs.  Results are available within 30 minutes at the clinic.

We just touched a lot, but we didn’t have sex

There are still STIs and STDs that can be passed on through bodily contact alone.  It is unlikely that you will catch or pass on HIV unless you both had cuts on your body and these touched, but there is also a possibility of transmitting Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C through physical contact.  If you are worried that you might have been exposed to an STD or STI by touching your partner intimately then you can choose our Early Detection Screen which will test for these STIs and STDs at just ten days after your cuddle.

One of the most common STIs passed on through touch is the HPV virus which can cause genital warts and can cause cervical cancer in women, as well as other cancers of the mouth, throat, anus and penis.  HPV testing is available for women at any time,.  Men must have a visible wart or request a urethral or anal swab.

Herpes both type I (usually found around the mouth) and type II (usually found around the groin) can be passed on when touching any infected area.  We can test for Herpes by blood (if you have no symptoms) and urine or a swab of the area if you do have symptoms.

Syphilis can also passed on by touch if your partner had an open syphilis sore.

If you have a lump, blister or bump that you are not sure about then Better2Know would recommend our Blemish Screen which will take a swab of the area.

I’ve had a needle stick injury at work

Needle Stick injuries are usually caused when a health care worker accidentally has their skin broken by a needle or syringe which may have come from an infected patient or other source.  They can also be common with professionals (social care and legal staff) who work with patients in health or social care setting.

First of all try to access PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) within 72 hours of the injury.  The sooner the better.  This can minimise your chances of contracting HIV if you have come into contact with HIV+ blood.  With needle stick injuries, the most common concern is around blood born STIs and STDs which include HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and less frequently syphilis.

If you have had a needle stick injury, we can test for all these STIs at just ten days after any potential incident, so Better2Know would recommend our Early Detection Screen, and you can choose to include syphilis testing.

It is recommended that you follow this up at 28 days and 8 to 12 weeks with tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

I can’t really remember what happened

If you don't really know what happened, and you have not got any symptoms or outward signs of infection, then Better2Know would suggest the Full STD 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 for Herpes, HPV and Syphilis.

If you are female and have unusual discharge or odour then we would suggest a comfort screen or a vaginal swab.

I/ We want to have a baby or I’ve 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. These infections can be passed on to your baby before they are born and they can also make it more difficult for you to get pregnant. 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 men and women should have a Full STI Screen and should also be tested for HPV and Herpes before planning any pregnancy. These tests will pick up the most common STI’s and after appropriate treatment you can start trying to have a baby.

Testing for HIV is particularly important. Left untreated, an HIV infection can lead to serious complications and even death. It is also important to test for HIV before pregnancy as with the right treatment, the chances of passing on the infection to your baby can be minimised.   

I am pregnant/ just found out I’m pregnant: What should I do now?

If you find out you are pregnant and have not had any tests for possible STIs then it is important that you get yourself tested now. There are many STIs that may have no symptoms but will still affect your pregnancy and could even harm your unborn child. Infections such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis B, HIV, Syphilis, Herpes and HPV can all be passed from mother to child and some of these infections along with mycoplasma, ureaplasma and gardnerella can lead to early rupture of the membranes and pre-term birth. In the case of HIV, with the proper treatment you can minimise the chances of passing this potentially life threatening illness on to your child, so get tested right away. Better2Know would suggest that you get a Full Screen or the Platinum Screen to be sure you are being tested for all likely STIs. Also think about the HPV test as this too can be passed on from mother to child and if left untreated can lead to several types of cancers.

I only slept with him or her once

It  only takes one time to catch an STI or HIV.  Of course the chances are 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 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 which will take a swab of the area you are concerned about and test for Herpes, HPV and Syphilis. If you are female and have unusual discharge or odour then we would suggest a Comfort Screen or Female Swab.

My ex has told me they have an STI: What should I do?

Try to find out what they have tested positive and negative for.  If they have 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 that Better2Know tests for.  In GUM clinics the standard tests are for: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV and Syphilis only.

We suggest that you test for whatever your ex-partner tested positive for, along with a full range of other STIs.  If you are not sure or do not want to ask, then Better2Know recommends the Full STD screen which includes Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV and Syphilis and Hepatitis B, Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma.

The condom broke

We understand how worrying this is and how common it is.  It is frustrating when you have done the right thing and then get let down by the equipment.  As far as your STI testing needs are concerned, in this situation both of you should have a Better2Know Full STD screen as infection could go both ways. This will test for: HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma.  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 any incident you are concerned about.

I’ve had / given anal sex

It is very easy to pass on STDs and STIs including HIV by 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 Full STI Screen.

Specifically for those receiving anal sex Better2Know would recommend a Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea test of your rectum.  This test would take a small swab from your rectum, and your results would be ready in two days.

I’ve given oral sex

It is possible to catch an STI by giving oral sex. Specifically for those giving oral sex Better2Know would recommend a Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea test of your mouth and throat.  This test would take a small swab from your mouth, and your results would be ready in two days.

If you are worried that you had a cut in your mouth then there is a possibility of HIV transmission and you should consider including an HIV test.