If you have symptoms of an STI, please visit a SHiP clinic. We will examine you and take tests as necessary. Coronavirus restrictions may mean that a telephone consultation is required in place of clinic attendance.
If you don’t have any symptoms, we can test for most STIs from a urine sample in men or a self-taken vaginal swab in women – this is painless and quick and you will not need an intimate examination.
Women can still do these swabs if they are on their period, although there is a small chance the results may come back ‘untestable’, and we will ask you to return to repeat the test.
Men, please do not pass urine for at least 2 hours before the test.
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The window period
STIs may not show up on tests straight away after sex – this delay is known as the window period, Any time after this, test results are reliable.
For chlamydia and gonorrhoea, the window period is 2 weeks. These tests are done on a urine sample (men) or a vaginal swab (women).
For HIV, the window period evolves as follows:
– at 4 weeks, the HIV test will detect 95% of infections
– at 6 weeks, the HIV test will detect 99% of infections
– at 12 weeks, the HIV test will detect >99.9% of infections
For syphilis, the window period can be up to 3 months. HIV and syphilis are tested with a blood sample.
We may also test for:
Herpes Simplex virus (HSV) Type 1 & 2
Non-specific urethritis or cervicitis
Genital warts (HPV) are another type of STI, caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). We cannot test for this but