Sexual Health and PrEP
What are STIs?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which are also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are communicable diseases that are transferred through sexual contact. STIs are caused by various pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and can present without symptoms. However, even asymptomatic cases of STIs can cause long-term health problems, including infertility.
Common STIs include:
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis B
Am I at risk of STIs?
Any sexually active person is at risk of contracting an STI, but risk is heightened with inconsistent or incorrect use of a condom, multiple sexual partners, and living in areas with high STI incidence. Seeking medical attention for STIs is essential to prevent transmission, manage symptoms, and maintain overall sexual health.
What is PrEP
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a pill that, when taken once a day, can protect HIV-negative people from getting HIV. When taken correctly, it is 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men. This means it is still possible to contract HIV while taking PrEP, but it is unlikely.
How often should I be tested?
- For most people, STI screening every 12 months is highly recommended.
- You should be tested more often if you have multiple sexual partners, as STIs may show no symptoms.
- Test immediately if you are at increased risk of STI: new sexual partner, living or travelling to areas of higher prevalence in Australia or in other countries.
- Test immediately if you have any symptom.
- 3 monthly test for people taking PrEP medication regularly.
Even if you aren’t in one of the risk groups above, you can still ask your doctor about STI checks at any time.
What does an STI test cost?
Pathology testing is often bulk billed so there will be no cost to you.
How can I get tested?
You can call us on 02 9268 0133 or book online.
Resources and support
STI Guidelines Australia. https://sti.guidelines.org.au/
QLife provides anonymous and free LGBTIQ+ support about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships on 1800 184 527. https://qlife.org.au/
Lifeline provides support and advice in a personal crisis on 13 11 14 (24 hours a day, every day of the year). https://www.lifeline.org.au