Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing as online STI testing. That’s because there’s no app or software that can detect STIs without an actual blood test. However, it’s possible to sort out an STI test without having to visit a doctor in person.
Telehealth services like Instant Consult make it easier to get a referral for STI testing without having to step out the door or sit uncomfortably in waiting rooms. Instant Consult allows you to chat with an AHPRA-accredited healthcare professional over the phone or via video call. If deemed necessary, they can then send you a pathology request form directly to your device.
This means you can go straight to a pathology collection centre for the necessary blood tests, urine tests, or swabs. There’s no need to worry about someone eavesdropping on your conversation with your doctor or running into someone you know in the waiting room. It’s a straightforward and discreet way to ensure your sexual health is in check. This is especially ideal for busy folks or those seeking a bit more privacy.
Remember, taking care of your sexual health is crucial. So don’t let the hassle of in-person visits prevent you from getting yourself tested.
Why Get Tested for STI?
Getting tested for STI is more than just looking after your sexual health. There are a bunch of reasons why STI testing matters:
- Early Detection: Many sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and HIV, can be symptomless. Testing helps catch them early, often before they cause serious health issues.
- Treatment is Easier: The sooner you know, the sooner you can get treatment.
- Prevent Spread: Knowing your status means you can prevent passing an STI on to your sexual partners.
- Protect Fertility: Some sexually transmitted diseases, if left untreated, can affect your ability to have children later on.
- Overall Health: STIs can impact more than just your sexual health. For example, untreated syphilis can affect your brain, heart, and other organs.
- Peace of Mind: Testing can relieve anxiety and stress, knowing you’re taking care of your health.
How to Get STI Tests Without the Hassle
With Instant Consult, it’s easier than ever to get the STI test you need. Here’s how you can sort out STI tests online without the hassle:
1. Book a Telehealth Consultation
Start by downloading the Instant Consult app, then sign up or log in to your account. Once you’re in, click on the “Request a Consult” button, and the first available Instant Consult doctor will connect with you in 15 minutes or less.
2. Consult With Your Doctor
During the video consultation, talk to your doctor about your symptoms, medical history, and other health information they might need. At this stage, it is crucial that you are honest and transparent with your doctor. The information you provide them will form the basis of their medical assessment. If you hold some information back, they cannot provide you with accurate medical advice.
All Instant Consult consultations are done on a one-on-one basis, and all your health information is stored in a fully encrypted server. Plus, you can choose to have the consultation in a place and time most comfortable for you. This means that everything you disclose stays between you and your doctor.
3. Get Your Pathology Test Referral
If your doctor deems that a pathology test is necessary, you will get your referral immediately after the video consultation. It will be sent to your inbox in the Instant Consult app. From there, you can print it or send it via email directly to the collection centre.
4. Undergo the Test
Take your pathology test referral to your preferred collection centre or any sexual health clinic near you. Depending on the type of blood test requested, it may involve collecting blood and urine samples or tissue swabs.
5. Wait For Your Results
Pathology test results usually come back within a day to a few business days. It will be sent directly to Instant Consult. We will promptly inform you via SMS, email or app notification once we receive your results.
6. Book a Follow-up Consultation
Once you receive the notification, you can book a follow-up consultation with one of our doctors. This is where we will discuss your test results and any next steps. Depending on your results, they may provide medical advice, issue prescriptions, request another pathology test or diagnostic imaging scans, or refer you to a sexual health specialist.
Which STI Tests Should You Get?
When considering STI testing, knowing which test to get is crucial for your peace of mind and health. Your doctor or healthcare provider should help you determine which tests you should get. But to give you an idea, here’s a quick guide to the most common STI tests and what they look for:
1. Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea Tests
These tests often go hand in hand due to the similar nature of the infections. A urine sample or a swab from potentially infected areas, such as the genital region, throat, or rectum, can be used for testing. They are particularly recommended for individuals under 25 years of age with an active sex life and those with new or multiple partners, with annual testing advised.
2. Syphilis Test
This involves a blood test to detect antibodies against the syphilis bacteria or a direct swab from any visible sores for those showing symptoms. It’s crucial for pregnant women, men who have sex with men, and individuals living with HIV to undergo this test regularly.
3. Hepatitis B and C Tests
Testing for hepatitis B and hepatitis C involves blood tests that search for the virus’s presence or antibodies produced by your immune system in response. These tests are especially important for people who are at higher risk, including those with multiple sexual partners, men who have sex with men, and healthcare workers.
4. Herpes Test
Herpes testing is generally reserved for those who show symptoms or have known exposure to the virus. It involves blood tests to detect herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2. These tests are more about confirming a diagnosis rather than routine screening.
5. HIV Test
HIV testing can be conducted through a blood sample or an oral swab to look for the virus’s antibodies and antigens. Rapid tests can offer results within 30 minutes, while more comprehensive laboratory tests take longer but are highly accurate. Regular testing is advised for those at risk.
If you have a valid Medicare card and had your test at an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) or a sexual health clinic, most of these tests can be bulk-billed.
Instant access to chat with a doctor with a comprehensive range of services
With Instant Consult, you can chat with a doctor and get help for a wide range of medical requests, all from the comfort of your home!
Are you too ill to come into work and need to give your boss a medical certificate? With Instant Consult you can chat with a doctor and get a medical certificate sent directly to your app’s inbox, all without getting out of bed!
If you need a new prescription or need to update an ongoing one then you can use our app to instantly chat to a doctor who can prepare your prescription promptly!
If you have a medical condition that needs treatment from a specialist, one of our GP’s can send a digital referral straight to your app’s inbox.
If you need a blood cell count or to check for STDs/STIs or need any other kind of bloodwork you can easily get a pathology request sent to your inbox by any of our fully licensed online GPs. You can then take the request to the clinic of your choice.
If you require any special kind of diagnostic imaging such as a CAT scan or an MRI you can get a request from one of our online GPs which you can then take to your preferred provider.
When Should You Get an STD Test?
STDs don’t always show symptoms. More often than not, when STI symptoms do show up, the infection is already in full swing. That’s why it’s recommended to get tested at least once a year if you’re already sexually active. But there are other times when testing is smart, too, such as:
- after unprotected sex
- when starting a new relationship
- if you have multiple partners
- when you notice any unusual symptoms
- if a partner tells you they have an STD
- during pregnancy
Even if you feel fine, you should still make sure to schedule regular check-ups with a qualified health professional. Plus, most STDs are easier to treat when caught early. So, when in doubt, get tested. It’s always worth it for your well-being.
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