Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) and Blood Borne Virus (BBV) testing: what to expect
Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs) can affect anyone. If you have had sex and are under 30, have had a change in sexual partner or if you are a male who has sex with other males, it is recommended that you get tested once a year or more. Speak to your doctor or nurse to check how regularly you should be tested.
What does an STI and BBV test involve?
What you discuss with your doctor or nurse will be kept confidential. You can ask for your choice of a male or a female doctor or nurse.
The doctor or nurse might ask you some questions to know what to test for and how often you should be tested. Questions might include:
- How many sexual partners you have?
- Do you use barriers such as condoms?
- Are your sexual partners male, female, both or other?
- When was the last time you had sex?
- What are your sexual practices?
The doctor will then explain what tests you will need.
For an STI test you may be asked for:
- A urine (pee) sample
- A swab sample
- A blood sample
- A physical examination if you have symptoms. You may need to undress from the waist down in a private space in the consultation room. Doctors are professionals who will be respectful about your privacy.
For a BBV test you may be asked for:
- A blood sample
The samples taken are called pathology tests and will be sent to a lab to check for STIs or BBVs. It can take up to a week for the results to come back to the clinic. You may need another appointment with the doctor or nurse to discuss the test results.
How much does STI and BBV testing cost?
If you have a Medicare card, pathology tests may be bulk billed. This means the cost is covered by the government and you do not pay for the tests.
The cost of clinic appointment will be different depending on where you go:
- Some clinics will bulk bill your appointment if you have a Medicare card and/or Health Care Card.
- Some clinics will ask you to pay a Gap Fee. This means that you will have to pay for some of the cost of your appointment.
- If you do not have a Medicare card, it is likely that you will have to pay the full cost of the appointment.
If you need medication or treatment, there may be a cost at the clinic or pharmacy.
What to expect if you attend a Sexual Health Victoria clinic:
Sexual Health Victoria provides expert, confidential STI and BBV testing to Victorians. We also provide expert advice and care on reproductive and sexual health matters.
If you are attending our clinic:
- Step 1: You can make an appointment by calling 03 9257 0100 for our Box Hill clinic, 03 9660 4700 for our Melbourne city clinic or book online.
- Step 2: If this is your first visit to our clinic, you will be asked to complete a registration form. If you need help completing the form, reception staff will help you.
- Step 3: You will speak to a doctor or nurse who will ask questions about your general and sexual and reproductive health. What you discuss will be in a private room and kept confidential.
- Step 4: The doctor or nurse will explain any recommended tests.
- Step 5: You can decide which recommended tests you would like and can usually collect your own sample.
- Step 6: You may be asked to make another appointment at a later date to discuss results.
For more information:
You may also be interested in watching:
A video about young people accessing sexual health services.