Testing for sexually transmissible infections

The only way to know if you have an STI is if you get tested. Many STIs do not cause any symptoms at all, which is why you should test regularly. Book a test today through your GP, the service finder or through your state and territory service.

Who needs an STI test?

Anyone who is sexually active should get regular STI tests, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or relationship status.

How often you test will depend on your sexual activity and other health risk factors. Talk to your healthcare professional about your risk.

You should consider having an STI test if you:

  • had unprotected sex
  • change sexual partners
  • think the condom broke or slipped off during sex
  • are pregnant or planning pregnancy.

You should also have an STI test if you or your sexual partner have:

  • any symptoms (but most STIs don’t show symptoms)
  • had an STI or a history of an STI in the past 12 months.

See healthdirect for more about who needs to get tested for STIs.

What's involved

Getting tested for STIs is quick and easy. Your healthcare professional may ask you some questions to assess your risk and decide which test you need. In most cases testing is done through a simple urine or blood test. Sometimes, you may need to provide a swab sample too, which you can often do yourself.

All general STI tests include syphilis and HIV screening.

The cost will depend on the test you need and where you choose to go. Many sexual health clinics offer free or low-cost tests. You may have to pay to see a healthcare professional, or you may be bulk billed if you have a Medicare card. Talk to your clinic to find out the cost. The Medicare Urgent Care Clinics are bulk billed and provide care for STIs.

Once you have finished your test, allow up to a few days for the test results to come through.

Once your healthcare professional receives your test results, they will contact you to discuss next steps, including treatment options if you have tested positive.

Sometimes, STIs require re-testing as part of the treatment process. Your treating health professional will be able to advise you on this.

The results of your STI tests will be confidential, like other healthcare information collected about you. However, if you are diagnosed with a notifiable STI, your healthcare professional may be required to report this data to the local public health authority. Your information continues to be protected by privacy legislation, and any identifying information is removed before STI notifications are reported more widely. If this is a concern for you, you should speak to your healthcare professional.

 See healthdirect for more details about STI screening tests.

How often you should get checked?

Anyone sexually active should have regular sexual health check-ups and get an STI test every 6 to 12 months, even if you are in a long-term relationship and use condoms. You should be tested if you have a new sexual partner and more often if you have multiple sexual partners.

All sexually active men who have sex with men should have a sexual health check-up every 3 months. It is recommended to be tested for gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV every 12 months.

Regular testing can prevent serious long-term health complications.

See healthdirect for more about how often to get tested. View the fact sheets on the resources page for more information on how often to get tested.

Where to get a test

You can visit your doctor or regular health professional to get tested.

Other places you can be tested include:

  • sexual health clinics
  • family planning centres
  • community healthcare centres
  • women’s health centres
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
  • walk-in centres
  • Medicare Urgent Care Clinics.

Find a sexual health clinic near you and book online, in person or on the phone.

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