Where Can U Get Tested For Stds – Many STIs don’t show obvious symptoms, so getting tested regularly is the best way to know your status and feel more in control of your sexual health.
Regular testing means any infection can be picked up and treated early. This means you can make informed decisions about sexual health and prevent the spread of infection.
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If you have regular sex, and especially anal sex, we recommend regular sexual health exams every three months.
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Below, you’ll find information about the various testing options available across Scotland, including our own services in Lothian, the Forth Valley and the Highlands. You can also find useful information on testing Windows.
It is important to note that each test has a different ‘window period’. Click below to learn more.
The testing window is the amount of time that must pass after exposure to an STI before a test is picked up.
A doctor will always advise you of your risk, and the possible need for retesting if you are in a window period.
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To be sure to get tested at the right time after exposure, here’s how long to wait before getting an STI checkup:
However, if you think you have developed any symptoms from an STI infection you should contact or visit a sexual health clinic as soon as possible. You should refrain from sexual contact until you have discussed your symptoms with a sexual health counselor.
SX offers access to free, community-based testing in the Lothians, Forth Valley, Highland and Argyll & Bute.
Your doctor will be able to take you through all the testing procedures. A standard test will include throat and rectal swabs, a urine sample, and a blood sample taken from your arm. Click to learn more about how rectal swabs and throat swabs are taken.
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All samples will be sent to the lab and you should receive your results within 10 to 14 business days of your appointment.
The way you receive your results varies. Usually, you will be asked to call a confidential recorded phone line to give you your results. However, it is not uncommon to receive a phone call, or a text message asking you to return to the clinic or call the clinic for the results.
If you are interested in testing – see our service directory to find or contact your nearest testing area.
Community-based testing clinics offer access to a variety of services based on local venues. Some of the benefits include:
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Many GP surgeries are able to provide sexual health tests, although not all will. The test will usually be carried out by the practice nurse.
GP practice staff may be trained in counseling before and after HIV testing. If not practicing, your GP may refer you to local support services if your result is positive.
It is important to remember that the results of the test by your GP will go into your medical record. However, the law prevents you from being discriminated against because of your HIV status and protects you from unnecessary disclosure to other people.
Although home testing is the most convenient option, it is worth remembering that it does not come with any support for dealing with a positive diagnosis. If you have a home kit that indicates you are HIV positive, you should contact your sexual health clinic or your GP to confirm the diagnosis and discuss the results further.
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HIV testing is quick, easy and confidential, with some tests providing results as fast as 20 minutes. A test can give you peace of mind and, if positive, access to treatment and support to help you live a long and healthy life.
With a rapid test, blood is mixed into a solution to give instant results. Other tests involve sending a sample to a lab for testing.
Blood is tested for HIV antibodies and proteins found in the virus to determine whether you are HIV positive or negative.
At SX & Waverly Care, we offer two types of testing – dry blood spot testing and rapid testing.
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This test requires blood to be taken from a simple finger prick. The examiner will collect a drop of blood from your finger on a special card, which will be sent to a lab to determine the results.
The test is capable of detecting blood-borne virus up to 3 months after exposure. Therefore, if there is a specific event that you are concerned about and it occurred within the last 3 months, the test may not be able to detect the infection.
The results of these tests are usually returned from the lab within 10 business days. Once the results are available, you will be asked to return to see the examiner. You will be contacted whether your result is negative or positive. This call back is an opportunity for the examiner to inform you of the results and enable you to plan your next steps for prevention or treatment, regardless of BBV status.
The test looks for HIV antibodies (your body’s response to the HIV virus) in your blood. The test can detect HIV antibodies as early as 3 months after initial exposure to HIV. If you are taking a rapid HIV test, you should always discuss the window period and decide whether this test is right for you.
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For a rapid HIV test, you only need a small amount of blood, taken from a simple finger prick. This test will give you the results within minutes and reduce the anxiety that can be caused by waiting for the results.
The results of this test are as accurate as a standard HIV test; However, the test will determine whether you are HIV ‘negative’ or HIV ‘reactive’.
Reactive means you need to go for further testing to determine if you are actually positive. In case of a reactive result, the examiner will arrange further tests for you to confirm the result.
It may take time for your body to make enough HIV antibodies and proteins to give accurate test results.
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Current HIV tests are more sensitive than earlier tests and in some cases can detect HIV as early as four weeks after infection.
A second test three months after possible exposure to HIV is recommended if the first test is negative to confirm the result.
We recommend that all men who regularly have sex with men should be tested every 3 months, especially those who have anal sex.
This ensures that HIV can be diagnosed at an early stage. With early diagnosis and treatment, people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives.
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If you have sex and think you have been exposed to HIV, you can access treatment known as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which greatly reduces your risk of infection. It is important that you seek help as soon as possible and you can find out more from our PEP page.
The process will vary depending on where you test. We’ll use the example of testing at a sexual health clinic because it will include many things you’ll see in other locations.
When you arrive at the clinic, you will be asked for some personal details if you have not registered with them before. You may then need to fill out a form to help staff identify which tests are suitable for you.
A trained health professional will discuss a pre-test with you to find out what concerns you have and whether an HIV test is appropriate for you at that time. There may be various reasons for not testing you at that time, which will be explained to you by the health professional.
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Clinic staff will then take a blood sample from you, either from a vein in your arm or through a ‘fingerstick’ test, which will be analyzed for HIV.
It will depend on the type of test. Some ‘finger prick’ tests, such as Checkpoint, will have results within minutes, while others may take a week or more to get results from the lab.
If you are at a significant risk of HIV, a sexual health clinic will try and speed up your results. You will be told when your results will be ready and whether you will need to return to the same clinic to receive them.
If you’re tested soon after you’re at risk, your body may not have made enough HIV antibodies to detect it – giving a negative test result.
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During this time, you can become infected without knowing it and potentially pass the virus on to others.
Many men find it difficult to talk about being negative and taking a lot of sexual health risks. We are experienced in talking through the pressure that gay and bisexual men feel in trying to maintain good sexual health. If you are looking for support to improve your sexual health, you can contact us via our self-referral form, and one of the team will contact you.
A positive test result means you are infected with HIV –
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