What if I test positive?

Thousands of people test positive for STDs (or STIs) every day, and the good news is that now 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. You can continue with your treatment at your Better2Know clinic (there may be a charge for another appointment and/or for a private prescription), you can take your results to your own GP who can also prescribe treatment, or you can go to your local Sexual Health Centre.  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 cause long term health problems including affecting your fertility. In order to best protect your health and treat the infection it is important to see a doctor to be prescribed the right medication for you.

You should also contact all your 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, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Ureaplasma, Mycoplasma, Gardnerella and Trichomonas

If you test positive for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Ureaplasma, Mycoplasma, Gardnerella and / or Trichomonas, these infections are usually treated with antibiotics and can be completely cleared with a short course of the appropriate medication. You can choose to see your Better2Know doctor, take your results to your own GP, or go to a Sexual Health Centre. Your choice of clinician will be able to prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic for you. You may want to consider having another test at the end of the course to check that the infection has completely cleared.

If you have tested positive using one of our home sample collection tests, we can still arrange a doctor’s consultation for you and ensure that they get a copy of your results. Phone us on the number above to make your private GP appointment.

Herpes

There are two types of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and 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 however 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. 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 your Better2Know doctor will be able to prescribe the right treatment for you.

There are also organisations who can support you: H-YPE is a dedicated site for people who have Herpes to provide support and social events, and The STD project provides an on line forum for people to share their stories.

Hepatitis B

If you test positive for Hepatitis B, 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 with your Better2Know doctor or with your own GP. 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 GP. 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 tests for 20 HPV virus types. Most types are very low risk, and the body can usually clear these on its own.  They can still 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. 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 GP) who will be able to recommend follow up tests and advise you on the most appropriate treatment for you.

There are organisations who can support you: H-YPE is a dedicated site for people who have HPV to provide support and social events and The STD project is an on line forum for people to share their stories.

If you have a confirmed genital wart 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 recurrence.

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.

You can choose whether to continue your treatment privately or through the NHS and your own doctor.

Better2Know works with the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) to help you get the support and advice you need on this life changing virus and your Better2Know doctor will refer you to appropriate specialists and the THT in the first instance. THT has 37 centres nationwide that are there to support you. They will help you work out whom to tell and they have over 30 years of experience in giving advice on how to tell people. They have helped thousands of newly diagnosed people and are the UK’s experts in this area. They also have a dedicated website: myhiv.org.uk for the HIV positive community to share their thoughts and feelings. The THT will also help you seek medical support and answer your questions about what this means to you and your future relationships. You can also phone THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 or email info@tht.org.uk.

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.