Q: "I have been at schoolies and hooked up with a few girls and gotten oral sex (not all the way with full sex). I’m wondering what I should do to get myself tested. I don’t want my parents to find out so I can’t go to the doctor with a Medicare discount, how much would it cost to get done and how quick and reliable is it?"
A: Schoolies can be great fun, and it’s also when a lot of people are experimenting and hooking up with lots of different partners – so you’re very smart for thinking of getting yourself tested! Oral sex is a very common way for herpes to be transmitted from the mouth to the genitals, even when the person if not showing any symptoms, and even when you use condoms. Other sexually transmissible infections you are at risk of may include gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia. Most of these are easily tested and quickly treated with a few antibiotic tablets!
As for the test itself, usually they will ask you some questions, do a physical examination and take a urine sample (you’ll go to the bathroom and pee in a little cup with a lid). It takes about a week to get the results, and usually you have to go back into the clinic to be told your results (even if they are all clear).
Check out Sexual Health & Family Planning Australia to find a Family Planning centre near you. They usually offer services free or small cost, and are committed to serving all clients regardless of whether they have a Medicare card or are able to pay. Once you’ve found a clinic in your area, give them a call to discuss if you are unable to pay fees that may be associated with your visit. It will all be confidential, and you’ll be able to get tested even if you can’t bring your Medicare card.
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Responses are written by Giverny Lewis, a 25 year old with a Masters in Sexual Health, who currently works in the area of HIV and sexual health. Giverny is not a GP or medical professional. Any specific sexual health concerns should be raised in direct consultation with your health professional.