HIV & STI Testing

HIV & STI Testing


Know your options!

Find out where & when to get tested. Learn which tests you need & which ones you don't.

Where can I get tested?*

Most people in NSW get HIV and STI testing with a general practitioner (GP).  GPs also provide CST (previously known as pap smears), contraception, PrEP & other services related to sexual health. 

Free testing is available with a Medicare card through any GP who bulk bills. Some specialist services are free even if you don't have Medicare or insurance. 

Specialist services that may provide HIV and STI testing include: Online Testing
  • Dry Blood Spot (DBS) - Free HIV & Hepatitis C test delivered to your home. Available in NSW only.
  • Skip the clinic visit and pay only for the STI/HIV tests by getting an online referral to your local pathology centre. Private companies such as this one offer pathology referral at a cost. Other companies may provide similar services so check what you can find online and compare prices.
  • Rapid HIV home testing kit for a cost, available across Australia

For information about which service is right for you call 1800 451 624.
*SHIL does not favour or endorse particular services; links are provided as information only. Comprehensive disclaimer information is available here

What should I be tested for?

A full sexual health screen usually includes testing for the following STIs:

These days, testing is simple. If you don't have any genital symptoms, you don't even need to get undressed. Click here for HIV and STI testing referral letter to take to your GP.

For more information about HIV and other STIs
call 1800 451 624.


Which HIV test will I get?

The 4th Generation Combined Antigen/Antibody HIV test is the most accurate way to detect HIV and is the standard HIV test done in Australia.

The Rapid HIV Test is a finger prick test that can give a preliminary HIV result within 30 minutes. In Australia this is available at some specialist services or for private purchase online via here.

All HIV tests in Australia have a 3 month window period (this is the time after a possible risk you need to wait) for the HIV result to be 100% accurate and conclusive. Rapid testing means you get the results quickly, it doesn't shorten the window period. 

What about other infections?

Herpes (Herpes Simplex Virus - HSV) is diagnosed by swabbing any blisters/ulcers on the genital skin. Blood testing is not recommended as part of a standard STI screen when no symptoms are present.

Herpes is very common and rarely severe. To learn what's fact versus fiction, call 1800 451 624 or get more info here.

Genital Warts (Human Papilloma Virus - HPV) are diagnosed by a clinician trained to recognise them. They are self-limiting, meaning your own immune system will get rid of them eventually. Topical treatments destroy warts more quickly, but they can return until your body clears the HPV virus itself.

Urethritis (NSU or NGU) is caused by a bacterial infection of the urethra of the penis. It is tested by swabbing any abnormal discharge from the penis. It isn't tested when there are no symptoms. 

Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) is a bacterial infection of the urethra of the penis and the cervix (the opening to the uterus). It's tested by a swab or a urine sample when symptoms are present. It isn't tested when there are no symptoms.

Candida/Thrush is common condition of yeast overgrowth in the vagina. It's not technically an STI, but some people will find it's triggered by sex. 

Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition caused by an imbalance of naturally occuring flora in the vagina. It can be sexually transmitted vagina to vagina. It is not sexually transmitted to, or from, penises. Some people will find penetrative sex disrupts to the vaginal flora and triggers the infection. 

Trichomoniasis can cause a lot more vaginal discharge and an unpleasant smell. It usually doesn't have symptoms in the penis, but can cause irritation when passing urine. It is uncommon in most of Australia and so is usually not part of a standard STI screen. 

For more information about HIV & other STIs
call 1800 451 624

When should I test?

You should test as soon as possible if:

  • you've noticed symptoms in the genitals or anus, for example: unexplained discharge, pain when passing urine, broken skin, a rash, lumps, pain during sex, vaginal bleeding between periods or during sex, or anal bleeding at any time.
  • a sexual partner has been diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhoea, urethritis, syphilis, hepatitis B, or HIV (even if you don't have symptoms yourself). 

You should test at least once a year if:

  • you're sexually active with anyone.

You should test 3-6 monthly if:

  • you're a man (cis or trans) who has sex with more than one male partner or are in an open relationship with another man. 
  • you're taking PrEP
  • you're at high risk of HIV/STIs
For individualised advice about when you should test
call 1800 451 624