Testing for STIs

Getting tested for STIs might involve a few different tests. Getting tested regularly means you’ll be able to treat them as soon as possible.

You can test for all of these STIs, and treating them can make them way less of an issue. Guys might want to get regular STI tests at the same time as their HIV or viral load tests as a matter of routine.

Not all guys are comfortable talking to their doctors about the sex they’re having or testing for STIs, but it’s important to test for and treat them as soon as possible. Think about how you may approach talking to your doctor, or see if there are any other sexual health clinics or testing sites in your region where you might be more comfortable. Call the AIDS and Sexual Health Info Line at 1-800-668-2437 if you’re trying to find somewhere that does STI testing.

Thorough STI testing will involve a number of different tests:

  • Throat swabs for gonorrhea and chlamydia if the guy has been giving oral sex
  • Rectal or frontal (vaginal) swabs for gonorrhea and chlamydia if there has been bottoming without condomsTesting tube and mouth swab
  • Urine tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia
  • Blood tests for syphilis, hepatitis C and HIV if you’re HIV-negative
  • Physical exam

It’s important not to pee before going for STI tests, because it can flush bacteria out of your urethra and make it harder to make a diagnosis.

Not everyone who gives STI tests will immediately think to do all of these tests, so sometimes you may have to ask for them. Ask for these tests even if you don’t have symptoms — it is common for guys to have no symptoms when they have gonorrhea, syphilis, or chlamydia. Even without symptoms, STIs can be passed on and can impact your health.

When guys don’t know they have an STI, the possibility of HIV transmission through sex is increased.

To make sure that your doctor is testing for the right things, go through the checklist of what to tell them:

  • If you’ve had oral, anal, or frontal (vaginal) sex
  • Whether you were topping or bottoming during those
  • Whether you used condoms for each of those things
  • If you have any symptoms like discomfort, fluids coming out of your cock or hole other than piss or cum, skin changes, or anything else unusual

Are you on PrEP, or do you have an undetectable viral load? Remember that these don’t prevent against STIs.