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/STI testing with a general practitioner (GP). If you're heterosexual and have no genital symptoms you can even print this handy referral letter to bring with you. A referral isn't required, but can be an easy way to ensure you get the tests you need.

Free testing is available with a Medicare card through any GP who bulk bills and through some specialist services even without Medicare.  

Specialist services that may provide HIV/STI testing include: *If you're at risk of HIV, but feel unable to test through the above services click here.

For information about which service is the right one for you, call 1800 451 624.


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. 

For more information about HIV and other STIs,
call 1800 451 624 or ask a question here.


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 in 30 minutes. This is currently only available at specialist services for gay and homosexually active men in NSW. 

Both HIV tests 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. 

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 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 or ask a question here.

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 or pain or bleeding during sex.
  • a sexual partner has been diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhoea, urethritis, syphilis, hepatitis B, or HIV (even if you don't have symptoms yourself). 
  • you've had condomless sex with someone at high risk of HIV.

You should test at least once a year if:

  • you're only heterosexually active and have multiple sexual partners.
  • you're a gay or homosexually active man with only one sexual partner. 

You should test 3-6 monthly if:

  • you're a gay or homosexually active man with multiple partners & have any condomless sex.
For specific advice about when you should test call 1800 451 624 or ask a question here.