As everyone emerges out of lockdown, you can bet that hook-ups are back on the menu.
For those starved of human contact (and human touch) for so long, the opportunity to get real up close and personal now that restrictions have lifted will be a HUGE drawcard.
And because of this, we’re anticipating people acting like moths to a (sexual) flame.
But while this may mean super hot fun for three or so minutes, it can also mean syphilis. Yep, syphilis.
The infection better known for making the rounds in the 1400s is weirdly having a MAJOR spike - with reports of infectious syphilis cases increasing by a whopping 475 per cent since 2010.
And it's not the only sexually transmissible infection (STI) on the rise. Which is why, despite a whole lot of (very valid) focus being on COVID tests, we simply can't forget about STI tests.
So, with the Victorian Government's STI Testing Week kicking off, there's no better time to talk about sexy health, get a test and get treated (if needed).
To ease your fears about the whole sexual health check thing, we run through literally every question you may have - including what actually happens for each different STI check for each different STI. Read on, and book in your STI check. STAT.
So, how often should I be getting an STI check?
On paper answer = Every time you get a new sexual buddy.
Yep, every time your personal space is literally invaded by another new being, it’s good to get tested.
But as a general rule, these are the 'actions' that should normally be followed with a trip to the clinic:
- After getting a new or casual sexual partner
- If you know or suspect that your partner has had other sexual partners
- After any unwanted or non-consensual sex
- If someone you've slept with has contacted you to tell you they have an STI
- After any sexual contact in countries where HIV and other STIs are common
- If you are planning on having a baby anytime soon (to prevent any infections being passed on to your baby)
- And if you're a sex worker, it's recommended that you have regular STI checks every three months
And, yes, for folks in long-term monogamous relationships, you should be getting tested every year. We know that seems excessive if you’re sure that neither of you in the partnership have had another sexual partner, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Always.
Which STIs have no symptoms?
This may surprise you, but there are honestly lots. STIs with no symptoms or asymptomatic STIs vary between men and women, but if we’re focussing on the STIs that often go unnoticed in women then these are the biggies: Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and HPV.
...but don't worry, we address all of those and walk you through what the tests are like for each so you can know exactly what you're walking into when you book in an STI test.
What happens during a Herpes STI test?
A lil' swab test if you have symptoms (like blisters around your mouth or on your genitals), or a blood test if you’re not showing any physical symptoms.
While herpes can present itself in the form of painful blisters (and when they are on your mouth or genitals that is when you’re the most infectious), you still technically ~have~ herpes when you have nada symptoms.