Getting an STI test- what doctors check for

Getting an STI test- what doctors check for

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Getting an STI test- what doctors check for

Many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) cause no symptoms. That’s why regular testing is important if you are sexually active, particularly if you have many partners or do not always use a condom. If you ask a doctor for an STI check, there are many things that can be tested. Some people just want a test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea, others may opt for a full check including blood-borne viruses. Here are the STIs doctors will commonly run tests for.

How can our online doctors save you time?


Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea

These infections can be caught by having vaginal, oral or anal sex. Both can be tested via a urine sample, though swabs from the urethra, vagina, anus or throat may be needed if there are specific symptoms. Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea may be silent, but can also cause symptoms such as vaginal or penile discharge, discomfort when passing urine, anal irritation and discharge. In women, there may be unexpected vaginal bleeding, pain during intercourse and pelvic pain. More serious complications include infertility, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic infection. Gonorrhoea can also cause a sore throat, and chlamydia may cause conjunctivitis (eye infection). Antibiotics can cure either of these infections.



This is a less common, but potentially very serious STI. It’s diagnosed by a blood test. It is spread through skin to skin contact with an infected area. At the start, a person gets a hard painless sore at the site of sexual contact- it can be in the genital region but may also be somewhere less obvious, such as the cervix or mouth. The sore heals after a few weeks, but the infection does not go away, and a person will still be able to pass it on to others. Later, there may then be a generalised rash all over the body and a flu-like illness. If untreated, syphilis can go on to affect various body organs, cause serious damage to the brain and heart. This is known as tertiary syphilis. Antibiotics can cure the early stages of syphilis, but are not as effective in the later stages.

HIV, Hepatitis B and C

These viruses can be spread through unprotected sex or through exposure to infected body fluids, including blood. Hence, they are also an issue for intravenous drug users, or healthcare workers exposed to infected needles/sharps. All of these viruses can be silent. Hepatitis B and C cause inflammation of the liver, which may lead to jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). Hepatitis B immunisation is now a routine part of childhood vaccinations in Australia, which means many people are protected against it (though the vaccine does not work in everyone). Initial infection with HIV may cause a flu-like illness in some people. Over time HIV can cause the immune system to become weak, leading to repeated infections. Only a few decades ago these viruses had a bad prognosis, but treatment has greatly advanced- nowadays most infected individuals can live a relatively normal healthy life.


Genital Herpes

This is caused by the Type 2 herpes virus (HSV2), though sometimes HSV1 (the cold sore virus) may be to blame. Infection may cause painful ulcers or irritation of the genital skin. Around 1 in 8 people are silent carriers. It’s hard to diagnose in this silent state- there are blood tests but they are not very reliable. The best way to diagnose it is by swabbing any active skin lesions (ulcers or irritation). If you get HSV2, it never leaves your body, so you may get flare-ups from time to time. There are antiviral tablets that can help reduce symptoms of this STI.

Mycoplasma Genitalium

This is an STI that fewer people will have heard of, and may not always be included in routine screening. A bit like Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, in men it can cause discomfort when passing urine, and discharge from the penis. In women, it can cause vaginal discharge, irregular bleeding, pelvic pain during sex, and discomfort when passing urine. It’s diagnosed via a genital swab or urine test. It can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

Further information about STI testing

If you need further information about STI testing, speak to your GP or sexual health clinic.

And remember, at Qoctor, within weeks we’ll be offering online prescriptions for STIs such as Chlamydia and Genital Herpes. 

Learn more about our online doctor services

Anaphylaxis- why does it happen & how is it treated?

By | April 17th, 2018|Categories: Allergies & Asthma|

Anaphylaxis- what causes it & how is it treated? What is anaphylaxis? Anaphylaxis is a severe life-threatening allergy. Normally, the immune system defends the body against threats such as bacteria and viruses. An [...]

Comments Off on Anaphylaxis- why does it happen & how is it treated?

Bedwetting- what causes it and what’s the treatment?

By | April 14th, 2018|Categories: Children & Babies, Kidney & Bladder Health|

Bedwetting- what causes nocturnal enuresis & how is it treated? What is enuresis? Enuresis (or nocturnal enuresis) is more commonly known as bedwetting.  It’s a problem for lots of children, and can have [...]

Comments Off on Bedwetting- what causes it and what’s the treatment?

Sweating too much- what causes it and when is it serious?

By | April 9th, 2018|Categories: Skin & hair conditions, Our Blog, Embarrassing health problems|

Sweating too much- what causes it and when is it serious? Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling down- sweat evaporates from the skin and allows body temperature to drop. Short term [...]

Comments Off on Sweating too much- what causes it and when is it serious?

Itchy bottom and unsettled sleep?- it could be threadworms

By | April 2nd, 2018|Categories: Common infections, Children & Babies|

Threadworms- symptoms & treatment What are thread worms? Threadworms (also known as pinworms) are small white worms that infect the human intestine. Infestation with threadworms is a common problem, particularly in younger children, [...]

Comments Off on Itchy bottom and unsettled sleep?- it could be threadworms
2017-10-01T16:30:19+00:00 By |Sexual Health|

About the Author:

Aifric Boylan
Originally from Ireland, Dr Boylan is an experienced GP based in Melbourne. She is also committed to innovation in the area of online medicine and health technology. Aifric is a keen distance runner, and plays the violin, but not at the same time…

9.3 out of 10
reviewed by Trustpilot