Sunday, April 14, 2024

Sexual Health Checklist: Tests to Get at Your Next Clinic Visit






Taking care of your sexual health is an important part of overall well being. Getting regularly tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other health issues at your local sexual health clinic sydney can help you take control of your health and get treatment if needed. Here is an overview of some key tests that should be part of your sexual health checklist.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are common bacterial STIs. Many people with chlamydia or gonorrhoea have no symptoms, which is why testing is so important. If left untreated, they can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and chronic pain. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea typically involves a urine sample or vaginal swab. Sexually active women under 25 and people with new or multiple partners should be tested annually.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) impacts the body’s immune system and ability to fight infections. Early HIV infection may cause flu-like symptoms. Without treatment, it can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Testing involves a blood draw or oral swab. Sexually active gay and bisexual men as well as people with new or multiple partners should get an HIV test at least annually.


Syphilis occurs in stages and has different symptoms at each stage, including rashes and sores. If untreated, it can eventually cause damage to organs like the heart and brain. Syphilis testing requires a blood sample. Testing is recommended for pregnant people, people with HIV, and those with multiple partners.


Herpes simplex virus occurs as oral herpes (cold sores) and genital herpes. Many people never have symptoms but can still transmit it through skin-to-skin contact. There is no cure but medications can help manage outbreaks. Testing involves a swab sample from an active sore. Blood tests can also detect antibodies. Talk to your doctor about testing if you are experiencing symptoms.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is very common and spreads through intimate skin-to-skin contact. In most cases, the immune system clears the infection naturally. But certain high-risk strains can lead to genital warts or cancer. Testing is done through Pap tests. The HPV vaccine protects against the most concerning strains.

Pap Smear

Pap smears screen for cervical cancer and precancerous changes on the cervix caused by HPV. It involves collecting cells from the cervix during a pelvic exam. Pap smears are recommended every 3-5 years for women aged 21-65. HPV testing may also be done at the same time.

Breast Exam

During a breast exam, your doctor will check for visual signs and feel for lumps or changes in breast tissue texture. Women should have a clinical breast exam every 1-3 years starting in their 20s or 30s. Breast self exams are also encouraged monthly. If you notice any changes or have concerns, it’s recommended to schedule an appointment at your local sexual health clinic sydney for further evaluation by a medical professional. Breast self exams are a simple way for women to be familiar with the look and feel of their breasts.

Testicular Exam

A testicular exam checks for lumps, swelling, and other abnormalities in the testes. It may be done while performing a routine physical. Testicular exams are recommended during annual check-ups for adult men, especially those with risk factors like undescended testicles.

It’s a good idea to get tested for STIs and have screening exams if you are sexually active, especially if you have new partners or multiple partners. Annual STI testing is recommended for sexually active women under 25 and men who have sex with men. Screening tests like Pap smears and breast exams should also be done at regular intervals based on your age and risk factors. Talk to your doctor about what tests you may need at your next visit to stay on top of your sexual health.


Regular STI testing, cancer screening, and physical exams related to sexual health play a vital role in maintaining wellbeing. Knowing your status and getting early treatment for issues provides peace of mind. Prioritise your sexual health by having open conversations with partners and making testing a routine part of health care.


What is the most common STI?

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most prevalent STI. An estimated 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. Fortunately, most cases clear up on their own.

How often should I be tested?

  • The CDC recommends annual chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing for sexually active women under 25 and men who have sex with men. Syphilis, HIV, and HPV testing frequency varies based on risk factors.

Where can I get free STI testing?

  • Many local health departments and community health clinics offer low-cost or free STI testing. You can also get free at-home test kits from organisations like AIDSVu and GetCheckedOnline.

What happens during a breast exam?

  • During a clinical breast exam, your doctor looks for visual signs of changes and feels your breast tissue for lumps, thickening, or textural changes that could indicate a problem.

What does a Pap smear screen for?

  • A Pap smear collects cells from the cervix to screen for cervical cancer and precancerous changes caused by high-risk strains of HPV. It’s recommended every 3-5 years for women aged 21-65.
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