Data recently released by the NHS show a dramatic increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in the UK, with cases now at an all-time high.
STIs can affect any sexually active person, irrespective of age, sexual orientation, or the number of sexual partners. A single sexual encounter is all it may take.
STI testing has always been essential to manage your sexual health actively and with infections now at a record high, the need for regular testing is even greater.
Some STIs do not present any symptoms, so regular testing plays a vital role in early detection and enables you to get treatment faster, lowering the risk of complications.
In the following article, we’ll answer some common questions we get asked about STIs and STI testing.
Why should I get tested for an STI?
Testing for sexually transmitted infections is important to keep you and your partners healthy and safe. Regular testing makes sure that you can get treated as soon as possible if you do pick up an infection. Left untreated, these infections can cause serious health problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
Getting tested regularly also helps reduce the spread of these infections.
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK and getting tested when you have a new sexual partner helps to protect you and them from a potential infection. Some people choose to do an at-home STI test when they meet a new partner.
You may also be worried that you have been exposed to STIs if you have recently had unprotected sex. In this case, you should wait at least 14 days after potential exposure to get tested because these infections may not show up on a test before then. If you have symptoms, then you should get tested and seek treatment straight away.
When should I get tested for STIs?
You should get tested if you think there is a chance you could have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection.
For example, you should get tested if:
- you have had unprotected sex with a new partner
- you or your partner have had unprotected sex with other people
- you or your partner have symptoms
- a sexual partner (present or previous) tells you they have an STI
- you’re planning on getting pregnant or are already pregnant, as it is important to protect yourself and your baby from infections
How soon after unprotected sex can I test for an STI?
You should wait at least 14 days after potential exposure to get tested because these infections may not show up on a test before then.
If you have symptoms, then you should get tested and seek treatment straight away.
There is always a very small chance that an infection may not show up on a test and give you a false negative result. Therefore, if you receive a negative test result, ideally you should repeat the test 6 weeks later.
If I test positive for an STI, where can I get treatment?
Our service is a testing service only. If you receive a positive result consult your GP or a Sexual Health Clinic about your treatment options. They will be in the best position to advise you on your next steps.
Your NorthGene™ STI Test Report can be shared with your GP or the Clinic as proof of testing and the nature of the infection.
Getting an STI test is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Regular testing will help to keep you and your partners safe.
We are using STIQ Day to break down the stigma of STI testing and demonstrate that it is quick, easy, and discreet.
Benefits of the NorthGene™ home test
- Convenient and discreet – you take your urine or swab sample at home and simply post it back to us in the postage-paid pack supplied.
- With a NorthGene™ test you can receive your results the same day we receive your Sample, much faster than the NHS.
- You can take your report to your GP or Sexual Health Clinic.