If you have symptoms of an STI, please visit a SHiP clinic. We will examine you and take tests as necessary.

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.

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
Trichomonas vaginalis (TV)
Non-specific urethritis or cervicitis
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Other infections

Genital warts (HPV) are another type of STI, caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). We cannot test for this but instead we can diagnose genital warts by looking at the characteristic lumps or bumps in your genital area.