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The Sexual Health Network, Greater Manchester. NHS

Q & A

Will the tests hurt?

We only need a urine sample to test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Women have the additional option of taking a self lower vaginal swab, please note the first catch urine samples may be less sensitive than a self taken lower vaginal swab. The tests for those two infections do not hurt at all.

The test for HIV and syphilis is a finger prick blood sample, so it creates a tiny pin prick in your finger and you place 5 small drops of blood on a sample card.

Will I ever need another test?

You should have another test if you or your partners have unprotected sex with someone else.  We don’t mind how often you have a test!

What is a window period?

Is the time it takes for the infection, whatever it is, to show on a test. 

The HIV and syphilis window period is 3 months.

The chlamydia and gonorrhoea window period is 2 weeks.

If you think you have put yourself at risk of an infection within these window periods we would advise you to test now and then test again once again after the window period.

If my tests are negative does it mean my partner is negative?

No.  Your test result reveals only your status and does not indicate whether or not your partner has any of the sexually transmitted infections you have been tested for.

What if I don’t want to take a test?

That is not a problem.  You have every right to refuse to take part in any programme.  It will not affect the way you are looked at in the future.  If you change your mind, you are welcome to have a test at any time.

Are the tests always right?

No test is 100% accurate, but the tests we use are very sensitive and specific to these infections.

The test we use to find chlamydia and gonorrhoea is called the GEN-PROBE Aptima 2 Combo assay for chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

The test we use to find HIV and syphilis is the latest generation blood test which looks for the not only the syphilis infection but the HIVp24 and HIV antibody and then confirms all positive results using 2 independent immunoassays.

Confidentiality

Will my GP (doctor) be told I have taken the test?

We don’t usually inform your GP that you have taken a test.  We make every effort to ensure people with a positive result receive treatment.  If we haven’t been able to contact you with your positive result we  may contact with your GP to assist us.

Who will find out I have had the test?

We will not tell anyone you have had a test, including your Mum, Dad or Guardian.  We may contact your GP if you need treatment and we can't get in touch with you.

You will need to think about who you need to tell if you have a positive test, as it is important that your partner and/or previous partners get tested and receive treatment.

I am 15 or under 15 – can I get tested?

Yes, as long as the person offering you the test feels that you understand the implications of testing.  However, RUClear cannot offer you a home testing kit; you do need to attend a clinic.

Chlamydia

What is Chlamydia?

See the What is Chlamydia? page.

How do I know if I have Chlamydia?

See the What is Chlamydia? page.

How is Chlamydia treated?

See the What is Chlamydia? page.

What happens if I don’t get treated?

See the What is Chlamydia? page.

Gonorrhoea

What is Gonorrhoea?

See the What is Gonorrhoea? page

How do I know if I have Gonorrhoea?

See the What is Gonorrhoea? page

How is Gonorrhoea treated?

See the What is Gonorrhoea? page

What happens if I don’t get treated?

See the What is Gonorrhoea? page

Syphilis

What is Syphilis?

See the What is Syphilis? Page.

How do I know if I have syphilis?

See the What is Syphilis? Page.

How is syphilis treated?

See the What is Syphilis? Page.

What happens if I don’t get treated?

See the What is Syphilis? Page.

HIV

What is HIV?

See the What is HIV? Page.

How do I know if I have HIV?

See the What is HIV? Page.

How is HIV treated?

See the What is HIV? Page.

What happens if I don’t get treatment?

See the What is HIV? Page.

Are HIV and AIDS the same thing?

No. 

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

HIV is not the same as AIDS.

AIDS is a medical condition. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infections.

The term AIDS was first used by doctors when the exact nature of HIV was not fully understood. However, the term is no longer used. 

Results

How will I get my results?

You can choose to get your results by SMS text, phone or letter.

How long will it take to get my results?

You should hear within 2 weeks.  If you have not heard from us after 2 weeks please ring us on 0800 046 1303.

What will any of the text messages say?

The text messages will not have your name on it.

For negative chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests it will say:

“Your recent Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea test were negative, so no infection was seen.  If you feel you need further advice please contact us on 0800 046 1303”

For negative HIV and syphilis it will say:

“Your recent blood tests were negative, so no infection was seen.  If you feel you need further advice please contact us on 0800 046 1303”

Is no news good news?

No.  If you haven’t heard we may not have been able to get in touch with you so please ring us to get your results after 2 weeks.

What happens if my result is positive?

We will try and contact you by phone to talk to you about this in confidence.  If we cant get hold of you we may send you a text or a letter asking you to contact us.

Pregnancy

What happens if I get or find out I have any of these infections when I am pregnant or have just had a baby?

You are routinely tested for HIV and syphilis during pregnancy, so speak to your midwife about this.  However, if you do have one or both of these infections whilst pregnant measures can be taken to try and ensure that they are not passed onto baby.

Both chlamydia and gonorrhoea are not tested for automatically but can be passed on to the baby during birth.  Therefore it is important to get tested and treated if necessary.  You can have antibiotics during pregnancy, or after whilst breastfeeding, that will not harm the baby.

Sexual Preferences

Can you get these infections from a blow job/licking out/rimming? (Oral sex)

Yes.  You can get all these infections from giving and receiving oral sex.

RUClear only test for genital chlamydia and gonorrhoea therefore anyone practising in other sexual practices such as anal or oral sex may need a different test to determine whether they have chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Can you get these infections from a fingering/fisting?

Yes.  Although the chances are reduced, any intimate contact can pass on sexually transmitted infections.

RUClear only test for genital chlamydia and gonorrhoea therefore anyone practising in other sexual practices such as anal or oral sex may need a different test to determine whether they have chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Can you get these infections from anal sex?  

Yes.  Anal sex can include penetration with a penis, finger or sex toy, rimming (stimulating the anus with the tongue) and fisting (putting a hand into the rectum).

RUClear only test for genital chlamydia and gonorrhoea therefore anyone practising other sexual practices such as anal or oral sex may need a different test to determine whether they have chlamydia and gonorrhoea

I am a lesbian/gay/bisexual do I need a test?

Anyone who has any form of intimate sexual contact is at risk of sexually transmitted infections. 

RUClear only test for genital chlamydia and gonorrhoea therefore anyone practising other sexual practices such as anal or oral sex may need a different test to determine whether they have chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Money

Do I have to pay for my test or treatment?

The test and treatment are free through RUClear.

Who funds RUClear?

RUClear is an NHS Service and is funded by the ten Local Authorities that make up Greater Manchester.

Other Questions:

How do I protect myself from STIs?

Condoms, Condoms, Condoms!

Wearing a condom can significantly reduce the risk of getting sexually transmitted infections.

Can I speak to someone at RUClear outside of 8.30 am and 5.30 pm?

Yes, we are open on a Tuesday until 6.30pm.

Will I know how long I have had any of the infections?

A positive result does not give any indication of the length of time someone has been infected for. 

What if I am worried about other sexually transmitted infections?

You can make an appointment at your local sexual health clinic or call our confidential advice line between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm 0800 046 1303.

Can you catch Chlamydia from a budgie or a parrot?

Budgies and Parrots can have a disease called chlamydia psittacacae, which can be passed to humans (not sexually!!), where it causes a chest infection called psittacosis.  The RUClear test is looking for gential chlamydia trachomatis.

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