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Your next STI test – and why not to worry

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Feature

We know an STI test probably isn’t your favourite activity, but it’s a simple way to do a lot of good for your health.

Many STIs (like chlamydia and gonorrhoea) don’t have any symptoms at all, so people often have no idea that they even have an STI until they get tested.

Luckily, most STIs are very easily treated with medication.

At Family Planning, our nurses and doctors are experts in sexual and reproductive health and treat STI tests just like any other health appointment. We don’t want you to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable coming in for an STI test – we’re just happy that you are taking the time to look after yourself!

When to get an STI test:

You can book an STI test any time you like - it’s an important part of keeping yourself healthy, but we think you should also have one if:

  • you’ve had sex with someone new
  • you’ve had unprotected sex (without a condom)
  • if you think you have signs of an STI or you just feel something isn’t right
  • if a condom broke
  • if you are pregnant.

Where you can get an STI test:

Visit us! STI tests are free at Family Planning if you are under 22. If you’re 22 or older, you just need to pay for the cost of your appointment, which is $27.00 or $5.00 if you have a Community Services Card.

Almost all of our nurses and doctors are women. If you’ve been in before and want to see the same nurse, just ask when booking, and we’ll be happy to help you.

You can also get STI tests at your local doctor, student health clinic, or youth service.

What will happen in your appointment:

The nurse will ask you a few questions about yourself and your sexual history, for example:

  • How long it’s been since your last STI test
  • If you have any symptoms
  • If you have a regular partner or casual partners
  • What types of sex you’ve had (vaginal/anal/oral)
  • If you use condoms when you have sex

They might seem like personal questions, but they’ll help the nurse decide what tests you need.

If you have a penis  it will often only be a urine (wee) test, so try not to wee two hours before your appointment, just in case.

If you have a vagina you might need a vaginal swab, but if you don’t have any symptoms, you may be able to take the test samples yourself.

Other times we might need to examine you, but this is usually only if you have some symptoms.

You can choose whether Family Planning calls you or sends you a text with your results, and if you need treatment, we’ll book you in for another appointment.

Nothing will surprise us:

Our nurses are experts in sexual and reproductive health and do hundreds of STI tests every month. They have seen and heard everything before, so please don’t ever feel embarrassed. They love answering your questions too and are not going to be shocked, so don’t hold back.

Our nurses and doctors friendly, non-judgemental and especially trained to work with young people.

Our services are confidential:

Everything that happens in your appointment is confidential, which means it won’t be shared with anyone (your parents, partner, your family doctor etc.) without your consent. Your home address and phone number won’t be contacted either, unless you give your permission.

Our policy is that we won’t share your information with anyone, unless there is a risk that someone could harm you, you could harm someone else, or you could harm yourself. If we need to share your information with someone who is able to help you, we will ask you.

You can bring a support person:

You’re welcome to bring a support person to your appointment. It could be a friend, your partner, a sibling – anyone who you feel comfortable with and will give you emotional support.

The nurse or doctor might ask to see you alone first to check that you’re okay and not being made to do anything you don’t want to do.

You don’t need to ‘groom’ for your appointment:

What you do with your pubic hair is entirely up to you. Whether you shave, wax, or leave it natural, don’t ever feel embarrassed about your grooming in front of your Family Planning nurse. We don't mind at all, and in fact, we probably won’t even notice, we're just busy doing our job!

Book an STI test:

If you would like to get an STI test, you can ring for an appointment or fill in an Ask for an Appointment form online and we’ll call you back to arrange an appointment.

You can also visit during our drop-in hours, when you don’t need to have made an appointment. Check your local clinic for times. 

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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