What is an STI test? An STI test is a medical test for the presence of a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). A sexually transmitted infection is an infection spread mainly by sexual contact with an infected person. Different tests are used to detect different STIs. There is no single procedure or test that can
What is an STI test?
An STI test is a medical test for the presence of a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). A sexually transmitted infection is an infection spread mainly by sexual contact with an infected person.
Different tests are used to detect different STIs. There is no single procedure or test that can detect all sexually transmitted infections. Usually, either blood (serum) samples or swabbing samples are taken for STI testing.
An STI test generally refers to any of a number of tests that can be used to detect a sexually transmitted infection. Common STIs in Singapore include gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.
More about HIV/AIDS testing
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is the virus that causes AIDS. When a person is infected with HIV, antibodies are produced in response to the infection. The HIV test detects the presence of these antibodies.
Most people develop the HIV antibodies within 1 to 3 months of the infection. However, it can take anywhere between 4 weeks to 6 months for enough HIV antibodies to be produced to be detected by an HIV test.
The time period between when a person is infected with HIV up to the time when it becomes detectable through an HIV test is known as the window period. An HIV test will not show a positive result when done within the window period, even if the person is infected.
A positive HIV test result indicates that you are infected with HIV. Finding out your HIV status can be a painful and emotional experience. Turn to your family, friends and trained counsellors for help. Knowing your HIV status early allows you to seek treatment as quickly as possible.
A negative result could mean that you are either not infected or the infection is still too early to be detected due to insufficient HIV antibodies. You should repeat the test 3 months later.
Why should I get tested?
It is important to get yourself tested for STIs if you think you have been exposed to infection. Early detection of STIs will help your doctor better assess your condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Although there is no cure for HIV infection, the condition can be treated. Other STIs, such as gonorrhoea and syphilis, can be treated and cured through medication.
Another reason to get yourself tested is because symptoms of an STI may not appear right away. A person with an STI may not know he or she has the disease. There is also a great risk of an infected person who does not know he or she is infected to pass the disease to other people unknowingly. Getting yourself tested is the only way to find out whether you have been infected by HIV or other STIs.
Who should be tested?
Screening for STIs is not routinely performed for most people. You should get yourself tested if you or your partner engages in high-risk sexual behaviour, such as:
- having sexual contact with prostitutes, strangers or casual friends
- having multiple sex partners
- having unprotected sex with someone who is known or suspected to be infected with HIV.
STI and HIV testing is also strongly recommended if you:
- are starting a sexual relationship with someone new
- are uncertain of your partner s sexual history
- have ever gone for body piercing or tattooing
- have ever received blood or blood products from an unscreened source
- share sex toys with your partner.
- are pregnant
How often should I go for a test?
STI testing need not be done routinely or regularly. However, if you constantly engage in activities that expose you to the likelihood of getting a sexually transmitted infection like HIV infection, you are encouraged to get tested at least once every 12 months and more often if you have multiple sexual partners in the course of one year.
Where can I get myself tested?
If you think you may have an STI, you can go for sexual health screening or HIV screening at:
DSC (Department of STI Control) Clinic
31 Kelantan Lane
#01-16, Singapore 200031
Tel: 6293 9648
Fax: 6299 4335
You can also get yourself tested for STIs or HIV/AIDS at Polyclinics,Private Clinics and hospitals.
All HIV test results are kept strictly confidential.
For more information on AIDS & STIs, please contact:
24-hr AIDS/STI Helpline
6295 2944 (pre-recorded messages in 4 languages)
AIDS/STI Information Hotline