Any questions?

  • Can you get an STI if you use a condom?

    Yes. Using condoms is an excellent way of preventing STIs (and unplanned pregnancy) and you have made a sensible and responsible decision by using a condom. However, if your partner (or you) has had sex before with others there is a slight risk, because even condoms are not 100 per cent effective. Also condoms do not protect against STIs such as herpes and warts which may be on parts of the body not protected by a condom.

  • Where can you go to get an STI test?

    You can get tested at a doctor’s clinic. However, many hospitals, sexual health clinics, and non-government services offer confidential, free tests for STIs. Find a clinic to get a simple urine test. Most clinics require a Medicare card. When making an appointment, check whether a Medicare card is required. A person 15 years and over can get their own card so when visiting a Medicare office bring identification.

    You can also take an online risk self-assessment to see if you are eligible to receive a free test at a PathWest clinic.

  • How do you know if you have an STI?

    You might not know if you have an STI as there are often no signs or symptoms. If you have ever had unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex, you should get tested for STIs. Condoms are not 100 per cent effective against all STIs, so even if you have used protection it is always best to get tested, especially when starting a new sexual relationship.

  • Does the pill protect you against STIs?

    No. The oral contraceptive pill does not protect a person against STIs; it only works to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It is recommended that a condom is still used when a woman or girl is on the pill. Other female contraceptives such as implants do not protect against STIs.

  • Can you still have sex while you’re on STI treatment medication?

    Wait until you have finished all of your STI medication treatment for any STIs and have had a follow-up examination before having sex again. Your sexual partner(s) should also complete treatment before you have sex again. Finishing all of your medicine and following up with your doctor is the only way to be sure the infection has cleared and to avoid passing the STI to another person. It is also recommended that you do not drink alcohol as it will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment and you might also forget about having safe sex.

  • Do you need to tell your partner(s) if you have an STI?

    Yes. It is important that you let your sex partners know that you have tested positively for an STI so they can get tested as well. Partner notification is an important way of controlling the spread of STIs. Most people like to be told in person. Discuss it when you are feeling relaxed and confident, and not before having sex. There are other ways to tell your partner such as sending a personal or anonymous email or SMS from Let them Know (external site).

  • What can happen if a person doesn’t treat their STI?

    Without early treatment, women and girls can get infections in their cervix, uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and can cause infertility. Men can develop prostatitis (infection and swelling of the prostate gland), epididymo-orchitis (infection in the sperm-conducting tubes and testicles) and can become infertile. A pregnant woman can also pass STIs to her baby, causing serious health problems.

  • What happens if your test is positive?

    If your test is positive, your doctor will prescribe a simple antibiotic treatment. Your sexual partner(s) should also get tested and treated. Usually, treatment is only one dose of a very effective antibiotic. If your test is positive you may have infected your sex partner(s). Any person you have had sex with has a right to know if they are infected too. It is your responsibility to tell your past and present sex partners that you have an STI.

  • What is involved in an STI test?

    The most common way to test for an STI such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea is a simple urine test. Testing may also involve a throat or anal swab if you have had unprotected oral or anal sex. If you are a woman, you may also be asked for a lower vaginal swab which you can do quickly and easily yourself if preferred. Depending on your sexual behaviours and risk, a blood test to check for other STIs such as HIV and syphilis may be required.

Have a question?

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A health professional will answer your question within 48 hours during a normal work week. If your question is urgent, please call Health Direct on 1800 022 222, or the Sexual Health Helpline on 9227 6178 (Metro) or 1800 198 205 (country callers)