FAQs

Do I need an appointment

Do I need an appointment

RAPID is a walk-in only service.

I don’t have a Medicare card, can I still get tested for free?

Absolutely. RAPID provides free testing to everyone, including those who do not have access to Medicare.

I think I’ve been exposed to HIV, what should I do?

I think I’ve been exposed to HIV, what should I do?

If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV or other STIs, it is important to get a test. RAPID is a safe space to get tested – whatever your story!

 

If you have had anal or vaginal sex without a condom, or shared injecting equipment within the last 72 hours, you can consider PEP if your partner was not on antiretroviral therapy. PEP is a four week course of medication that may prevent a person from contracting HIV after a high risk exposure. PEP should be commenced as soon as possible after exposure (ideally within 24 hours) and no later than 72 hours.

 

In Queensland, PEP is available from all sexual health clinics, as well as public hospital emergency departments and HIV specialist GPs. Your nearest sexual health clinic won’t be far, get their address here http://endhiv.org.au/clinic-search/. If you need help finding where to go, you can give RAPID a call during business hours or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). RAPID, at this time, is unable to offer PEP.

Does the pill to prevent HIV (PrEP) work?

PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a HIV-prevention method used by people who are HIV-negative. It is a pill taken daily that protects against HIV transmission, and just like the contraception pill, PrEP is a choice and people use it for lots of different reasons.

 

PrEP is $39.50 if you have access to Medicare (or $6.40 concession card older). If you do not have a Medicare Card, you can get even cheaper access to PrEP via www.pan.org.au

What is U=U mean? (Undetectable = Uninfectious)

What is U=U mean? (Undetectable = Uninfectious)

U=U refers to a person living with HIV who sustains an undetectable viral load and there becomes unable to transmit the virus to another person.

 

After several studies showing the efficacy of U=U, the World Health Organisation in July 2018, made a statement that there is “no evidence that individuals who have successfully achieved and maintained viral suppression through anti-retroviral therapy transmit the virus sexually to their HIV negative partner(s). The preventative benefits of anti-retroviral therapy should be appropriately emphasised in HIV treatment and prevention programs.”

 

In medicine we never like to say 100%, but it is important to remember that statistically PrEP and U=U are more effective at preventing HIV than condoms.

What are the symptoms for syphilis?

What are the symptoms for syphilis?

Syphilis is caused by a bacterium. If left untreated, it can affect different parts of the body, including nerves, brain and large blood vessels near the heart. Active syphilis may also increase HIV transmission. Anal, vaginal or oral sex or contact with a lesion can transmit syphilis. We can test for syphilis from a blood sample and cure the infection with specialist clinical care. Syphilis infection has three stages. 

 

1. Stage 1 will consist of a painless sore or ulcer, usually on the genitals (although can appear anywhere).  These will go away if untreated, however, the infection still remains in the body.

2. Stage 2 may appear a few months later and can include a distinctive rash, patchy hair loss, potentially warty lumps around the genitals and swelling of the lymph glands.  These symptoms can come and go if left untreated.

3. Stage 3 of syphilis infection will begin to affect internal organs of the body, such as the brain, the nerves and blood vessels. It is essential to get early treatment for syphilis to cure the infection and prevent onward transmission.

What are the symptoms for chlamydia?

What are the symptoms for chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a bacterium that most commonly affects the urethra, anus, cervix or throat. It is the most common bacterial STI and if left untreated can cause infertility in men and women. Giving/receiving anal, vaginal or oral sex can transmit chlamydia. We test for Chlamydia using urine, throat swabs and rectal swabs. Chlamydia can be effectively treated, often with just a single dose of antibiotics.

In regards to symptoms, those with a penis may notice:

* A discharge from the penis

*Pain when passing urine

*Swollen and sore testes

*or No symptoms at all

In regards to symptoms, those with a vagina may notice:

* A change in their vaginal secretions (more discharge or a change in colour and smell)

*Bleeding or spotting between periods or after having sex

*Pain during or after sex or when passing urine

*Crampy pain in the lower abdomen (just above pubic bone)

*Menstrual changes including longer, heavier periods which may be more painful

What are the symptoms for gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is caused by bacterium and most commonly affects the urethra, anus, cervix or throat. Gonorrhoea is a common bacterial STI and can be transmitted by giving/receiving anal, vaginal or

oral sex. We test for Gonorrhoea using urine, throat and rectal swabs. Gonorrhoea can be effectively treated, using both tablets and a single injection in the buttock.

 

In regards to symptoms, those with a penis may notice:

*A discharge from the penis

*Pain when passing urine

*Swollen and sore testes 

*or No symptoms at all

 

In regards to symptoms, those with a vagina may notice:

*A change in their vaginal secretions (more discharge or a change in colour and smell) *Bleeding or spotting between periods or after having sex

*Pain during or after sex or when passing urine

*Crampy pain in the lower abdomen (just above pubic bone)

*Menstrual changes including longer, heavier periods which may be more painful