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When should I have an STI test?

When should I have an STI test?

You should be tested if:

• you have any symptoms which suggest an STI
• your partner has an STI
• you have a new sexual partner
• you have more than one sexual partner

What does the test involve?

The type of test will depend on your symptoms.

For men, you will be asked to give a urine sample into a small bottle. Men should not urinate (pee) for two hours before giving a urine sample. Sometimes a swab is used to take a sample from inside the top of the penis. This will depend on what your symptoms are and will be explained to you by the doctor or nurse seeing you.

Sometimes swabs will also be taken from your throat or anus (back passage).

A swab is like a cotton bud.

For women, a swab is taken from the vagina. This can be done by the doctor or nurse and sometimes by yourself.

Women and men will also have blood tests to check for viral or bacterial infections.

All STI testing in public sexual health or GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinics is provided free of charge. Click here for a list of public STI services available. STI testing is also available through many GPs, NGOs or student health services for a fee.

Further information is available in the patient information leaflet Your Guide to Sexually Transmitted Infections.