HIV/STI FACTS

WHEN TO TEST FOR HIV?

The rapid HIV tests used by RAPID are Australian government-approved and are very accurate. The tests can look for both early and later stages of HIV. However, it can take up to 3 months after acquiring HIV for it to become detectable by a test. This is called the "window period".

 

Because of the window period, we recommend you should get a test 3 months after a particular sexual or injecting HIV risk that you are concerned about.

 

It is very important that you test for HIV frequently if you are sexually active and not on anti-retroviral therapy. An early diagnosis is critical to good health as a person living with HIV. We recommend immediate HIV treatment upon diagnosis in Australia, and this prevents HIV disease progression to the point that the majority of people diagnosed with HIV now will live a normal life expectancy.

 

Additionally, in July 2018, the World Health Organisation 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.

WHEN TO TEST FOR SYPHILIS, CHLAMYDIA & GONORRHOEA?

If you are sexually active, we recommend testing every three months. Please do not feel ashamed if you contract an STI, and many people who have an STI do not know they do. Testing frequently helps us keep the overall transmission of infection at a lower rate.

 

If you contract an STI and get diagnosed at RAPID, there will never be judgement. We can help you get treatment, and anonymously advise partners to get tested as well.

 

Syphilis is a curable bacterial infection that can be life threatening if left untreated. Syphilis is on the rise among men who have sex with men. A diagnosis will enable you to get treatment that will cure the bacterial infection.

 

Gonorrhoea and chlamydia are the two most common bacterial STIs, and both can be cured with treatment. We test for these two STIs using GeneXpert technology that produces results in 90 minutes.