What if I test positive for an STI?

Thousands of people test positive for STIs and STDs every day, and the good news is that now you know your status, you can get the medical treatment that you need to prevent / minimise any long term health complications.

You have a choice of what to do next: we can arrange a consultation for you, at no further charge, or you can take your results to your own Doctor, who can also prescribe treatment.  It is important to get treated, even if you have no symptoms, as you can still pass the STI on to your partner.  You may cause long term health risks if you do not get treated. In order to best protect your health, and treat the STI it is important to speak to a doctor, to be prescribed the right drug for you.

You should also contact your ex-partners to tell them what you have tested positive for. It is the responsible thing to do, and could protect their health and fertility too. It is always Better2Know.

Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Ureaplasma, Mycoplasma, Gardnerella and Trichomonas

If you test positive for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Ureaplasma, Mycoplasma, Gardnerella and / or Trichomonas, these infections are usually treated with antibiotics.  They can be completely cleared with a short course of the appropriate medication. You can choose to speak to a Better2Know Doctor or take your results to your own Doctor. Your choice of Doctor will be able to prescribe the one most appropriate antibiotic for you. You may want to have another test at the end of the course to check that the STI has completely cleared.

Herpes

There are two types of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), and your Better2Know test will tell you which, if any, you have. HSV (I) is the strain that commonly causes “cold sores”, or sores around the lips of the mouth. The HSV (II) strain is the viral type that typically causes Genital Herpes. There is currently no medication available to eliminate the virus from the body, however there are many treatments which are very effective at reducing both the severity, and frequency of any outbreaks. The good news is that these outbreaks can be managed.  There are creams and medications available to keep the outbreaks under control, with reduced symptoms. You can only pass the virus on when you have symptoms, so you should abstain or practice safe sex with a condom during this time. If you test positive for Herpes, your Better2Know Doctor or your own Doctor, will be able to prescribe the right treatment for you.

If you test positive for Herpes, there are organisations who can support you such as The STD project provides an on line forum for people to share their stories.

Hepatitis B

If you test positive for Hepatitis B, your Better2Know Doctor will advise you to see a specialist.  They will carry out further tests to see the effect the virus is having on your body, and the best treatment options for you. You can decide whether to continue this review with a Better2Know Doctor, or through your own Doctor. The majority of people who test positive find that their immune system will fight off the virus on its own, but careful monitoring of the infection is always necessary.

A specialist will be able to provide the right treatment, if the disease is more advanced.  This is an antiviral medication which will be prescribed, and you may need to take it for up to six months.  During this time you will receive regular support and monitoring. This should clear the virus from your body and you can then continue to lead your normal life.

Regardless of whether the infection is producing symptoms or not, you are advised to avoid alcohol, get plenty of rest and maintain a healthy diet.

Hepatitis C

If you test positive for Hepatitis C, your Better2Know doctor will advise you to see a specialist.  They will carry out further tests to see the effect the virus is having on your body, and the best treatment options for you. You can decide whether to continue this review with a Better2Know doctor, or through your own Doctor. The majority of people who test positive find that their immune system will fight off the virus on its own, but careful monitoring of the infection is always necessary.

Treatment may include antiviral drugs to help your body combat the effects of the virus. You will be advised to have regular check-ups to monitor your reaction to the drugs.

HPV/ Genital Warts/ Cervical Cancer

Sexually transmitted HPVs fall into two categories:

  • Low-risk typess, which do not cause cancer but can cause skin warts on or around the genitals or anus. For example, HPV types 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts.
  • High-risk types, which can cause cancer. At least a dozen high-risk HPV types have been identified. Two of these, HPV types 16 and 18, are responsible for the majority of HPV-caused cancers.

Just because you test positive for an HPV virus, even if it is a high risk type, it does not mean that you will go on to develop cervical cancer.If you have HPV, you will be referred to a specialist (available through your Better2Know clinic or your own Doctor) who will be able to recommend follow up tests, and to advise you on the most appropriate treatment for your HPV type.

If you have a confirmed genital wart, this can be removed (usually through cryotherapy, which involves freezing the infected cells).  There are also creams that can be prescribed to help remove warts, reduce their symptoms and prevent their reoccurrence.

HIV

With early identification, and appropriate treatment, HIV is no longer a life threatening virus. You should test for HIV regularly, so that if you test positive you can start your treatment early. Starting treatment early is the best thing you can do. Many people do not even have to start taking medication straight away, but you should start to monitor the effects of the virus. Better2Know can detect HIV from as early as ten days after any exposure.

You can choose whether to continue your treatment through a Better2Know or your own Doctor.

There are also apps and WebPages now to help you manage and monitor you condition so that you can take control of the virus and maintain your health and lifestyle.