Frequently Asked Questions

You can find additional information about our services, and STDs in general, in the section below. Click on each question to reveal the answer.

What are some of the symptoms that I can be treated for?

Most STDs do not have symptoms but can cause long term health problems. Common symptoms which can be diagnosed and treated include:

  • Discharge through the urethra or vagina, which can be pus-like or watery
  • Burning sensation on passing urine
  • Urgency to pass urine and increased frequency. More frequent urination at night time
  • Ulcer or break in the continuation of the skin or mucus. Can be painful or painless
  • Swelling in the testes or vulva
  • Rash which can be red, flat or raised, itchy or non-itchy, painful or painless
  • Pain on intercourse or ejaculation
  • Bleeding in between periods and after intercourse
  • Blood in urine
  • Difficulty in penetration or pain on penetration
  • Pain in the vulva, clitoris or testicular area

For more information on symptoms, go to the page for each STI.

Are sexually transmitted infections common?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are extremely common. For example, 1 in 10 women in the age group of 16 to 20 have a Chlamydia infection; 1 in 10 men in the age group of 20 to 24 have a Chlamydia infection.  Syphilis has recently come back with a fifty-fold increase in its prevalence. More and more people are still getting infected with HIV, and in fact about 1 in 4 HIV-infected individuals do not know they have this infection. The incidence of Gonorrhoea, Trichomonas, Hepatitis B and C have all increased in the last year. 1 in 5 sexually active people in the UK have Genital Warts and/or  the Herpes Type 2 virus, both of which can have long term effects.

The age group chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis infection is increasing fastest in is those aged 50 and over.

Why get tested for an STD or HIV?

Many STIs are asymptomatic for long periods of time; in other words you are unaware you are infected in your day-to-day life. Because of this, perhaps the main reason people worry about having an STD is the risk of infecting another partner unknowingly.

However, serious additional medical risks also top the list of reasons to get tested. Among these potential consequences are:

Infertility (in both men and women)
  • Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea are the most important preventable causes of infertility. Moreover, other infections can increase the risk of miscarriage and pre-term pregnancy.
Increased Risk of Cancer (in both men and women)
  • Men with a history of Gonorrhoea are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
  • Persistent HPV (Genital Wart) infections are now recognized as the major cause of cervical cancer, and may play a role in some cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, penis, mouth, throat and oropharynx.
Increased Risk of Other Infections, Especially HIV (in both men and women)
  • STDs are the primary risk factor in HIV transmission among heterosexuals. Individuals who are infected with STDs are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected individuals to acquire HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus through sexual contact.
Increased Risk of Mother to Child Transmission and Death or Disability to Your Baby

STIs can directly lead to the following adverse conditions in newborns:

  • Severe neurological damage, mental retardation or death.
  • Miscarriage, pre-term delivery.
  • Blindness, eye infections, pneumonia.
  • General deformities, delay in development, seizures.
How long does it take to get the test results?

Results for HIV tests are available the same day your sample is received in the laboratory. Some of our clinics can provide you with a rapid HIV test starting from 26 days after potential exposure. For tests including Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis B and Syphilis, results are available within 2 days of your sample being received in the laboratory.  Tests which can take up to 5 days include: Herpes, HPV, PAP Smear results, Mycoplasma, Trichomonas and Gardnerella. Please see the individual STD test pages for more information.

Are STD tests always accurate?

No test for any STD is 100% accurate. Some STIs don't show up right away. It could take an infection anywhere from a couple of days to a few months to show up in testing. But if you think you have a STI, get tested. You may have to go back again to get tested if you test negative. Even if you test negative, keep practicing safe sex. Talk to your health care provider about speaking with a counsellor if you have concerns.

When can I be seen for my test?

On most occasions you can be seen the same day an appointment is booked. If the results are positive your Better2Know clinic will be able to help you get treatment.

Why should I be treated for STIs?

The answer is that most of the STIs do not present any signs or symptoms; however, they can have drastic consequences. For example Chlamydia when left untreated can result in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Men can have inflammation of the testes, prostate and suffer from infertility. Syphilis if left untreated can cause heart failure and mental health disorders in the long term. HIV can destroy your immune system and can result in opportunistic infections and cancers. It can even be fatal if not treated in a timely manner. Hepatitis B and C, over many years, can cause liver failure and may require a transplant.

What is the cost of a consultation?

Consultations are optional but are included in our testing prices, which you can find on the Which Test Should I Get section of our website.

What are the costs involved in tests?

Please refer to the prices section of our website.

Is all information confidential about my STD test?

Yes. Any information is treated as highly confidential and will not be shared with third parties. Furthermore, you can choose to provide a false name and/or receive an anonymous PIN number.

What should I do if I have a STD?

You should tell all sexual partner(s) who may have been exposed. Try to get them to get tested. If you feel that you cannot tell your partner(s), talk to your health care provider. He/she will help you to tell your partner(s) or will help you find another way to let your partner(s) know he/she has been exposed. You and your current sexual partner(s) need to get treated at the same time to prevent re-infecting each other. Make sure you follow your health care provider's directions on taking medications and make sure you finish all of the medicine prescribed, even if you feel better. Schedule a follow-up exam with your health care provider after you have finished treatment. Do not have sex again until your health care provider says you are cured. If you are concerned or upset about having an STI, think about getting counselling. Your health care provider can help you find a counsellor.