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Taking your samples

You need to take your own samples to be tested – this is known as self-sampling.  

You might need to give a urine sample or take a swab from your vagina, bottom or your throat. 

Depending on the test you choose, you may need to take a blood sample. You will receive guidance in your testing kit, but this is how the finger-prick test works:

shows process of finger-prick blood test

Get tested at the right time

If you’re sexually active, then regular STI testing is one of the best things you can do to look after your health. After a person has been exposed to an STI there may be some time before the infection shows up on a test. This is different for each infection: 

  • Chlamydia: 2 weeks after last exposure 
  • Gonorrhoea: 2 weeks after last exposure 
  • HIV: 8 weeks after last exposure (although tests done after 4 weeks are accurate 9 out of 10 times) 
  • Syphilis: 3 months after last exposure 
  • Hepatitis B: 3 months after last exposure 
  • Hepatitis C: 3 months after last exposure 
  • Mycoplasma genitalium: 2 weeks after last exposure 
  • Trichomonas: 4 weeks after last exposure

Help and advice

If you are concerned, it is never too soon to ask for help and advice.

We only provide a screening service. If you have symptoms, think you have been exposed to an STI or have any other concerns regarding your sexual health, please seek help and advice from:

  • Your GP or a doctor.
  • Your local sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
  • The NHS sexual health helpline on 0800 567 123.
  • The FPA sexual health helpline on 0845 122 8690.
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