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STI testing for men: Why and what to expect

Monday, June 13, 2022

Feature

If you’re one of the 5000+ men who visit Family Planning each year, we applaud you. Taking care of your sexual and reproductive health is not just for women, it’s just as important for men as well.

So, this Te Wiki Hauora Tāne (13-19 June), do yourself a favour and book in for a sexual health check.

It’s particularly important if you’ve been having sexual contact with other people as you may be at risk of getting or passing on a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Māori, Pacific People, young people, and men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately affected by STIs. STIs can be serious and do not go away by themselves. It is important to get tested and, if necessary, treated.

Free STI checks are available for under-22-year-olds from Family Planning throughout New Zealand.

If you’ve never had an STI test and don’t know what to expect - we can promise you seeing a Family Planning nurse or doctor is easy and it's confidential. Our nurses and doctors are experienced professionals, experts in sexual and reproductive health and they’ve seen it all.

WHEN SHOULD I GET TESTED FOR AN STI?

It is a really good idea to get tested for an STI:

  • if you’ve had unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex or skin on skin contact with someone
  • before you begin a new relationship 
  • if a condom broke – get tested (a few weeks later) and get some tips to make sure condoms are much less likely to break next time 
  • if you have symptoms or just feel something isn’t quite right. 

WHAT SYMPTOMS MIGHT I HAVE?

Some STIs have symptoms but often there are no signs at all. People can be infected with an STI without knowing it. You can’t tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them. It’s not who you are, but what you do that puts you at risk of getting an STI.

If you do have symptoms, these could include:

  • pain when you pee 
  • pain when you have sex 
  • an unusual discharge or smell 
  • lumps, bumps or sores 
  • sore testicles. 

WHAT HAPPENS AT AN STI TEST?

The nurse or doctor will ask a few basic questions about your sexual history such as:

  • How long since your last STI check? 
  • Do you have any symptoms? 
  • Have you had a recent change of partner?
  • What types of sex have you had (because some sexual activity is more high risk than others)?

They’re not being nosey or judging you – they are just trying to get information so they know what tests you need. These tests may include:

  • a urine test – that’s where you pee in a pot
  • swabs – a cotton bud with a long handle is used to take a sample from the mouth and the anus (depending on the type of sexual activity you have) 
  • a physical check, if required – the nurse or doctor will look at your penis, testicles and scrotum for any sign of infection 
  • a blood test – if the nurse or doctor is checking for HIV/Hepatitis B/Syphilis. 

For most men, with no symptoms, to have an STI test they’re simply going to have to pee in a pot.

WHAT IF I DON’T GET TESTED?

If STIs go undiagnosed and untreated there can be long-term consequences, such as infertility and long-term pain. 

HOW TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH FAMILY PLANNING

If you’re sexually active, be proactive and get regular STI tests.

To make an appointment, or to check what services we offer at your local clinic, visit our website to find a clinic near you.

HOT TIP!

Condoms and internal condoms offer the best protection against STIs. Condoms on prescription are much cheaper. $5 will get you up to 60 condoms with a prescription at a pharmacy. You can also get up to 60 free condoms with a prescription at a pharmacy without prescription charges. And, you can do this over the phone so you don’t even have to visit the clinic!

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