Play When I think of testing…


Regular sexual health testing is one of the most important and effective ways to keep control of your sexual health.

For HIV-negative guys, it’s a good idea to get tested for HIV as well as other STIs as part of your sexual health check, even if the doctor or clinic nurse doesn’t suggest it, so don’t be shy about asking which tests are being done. It’s also important to test all the sites in your body where STIs can occur, including your cock, arse and throat.

Remember, the more sex you have, the more frequently you should be tested! It’s recommended that guys who have sex with other guys get tested at least once a year—even if you’re in a relationship—and that guys who have multiple casual partners get tested up to 4 times a year.

HIV and STI testing is easier, quicker and more accessible than it has ever been, so there’s no excuse not to get into a regular routine of sexual health check-ups. It’s not a bad idea to set yourself a reminder on your phone every three months, or you can set yourself reminders on the Drama Downunder website.

HIV Testing

There are various types of HIV tests these days:

  • the traditional blood draw, where blood is sent to a laboratory and you get your results within about 3-7 days
  • rapid HIV tests where you can get your result within half an hour, and
  • HIV self-tests, or home-based tests—although these are not yet approved for use in Australia.

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Many places offering HIV and sexual health testing are free (such as sexual health clinics), and all health services are confidential, so your private information remains just that private!

Getting tested can be a bit daunting but there are different options including getting tested by your GP, at a sexual health clinic, or a community testing site where friendly trained peers — gay and bi guys, just like you — administer the tests and provide the results.

To find out where you can get an HIV test and sexual health check in your location, including where rapid testing is available, please visit the Time to Test website.


Rapid HIV Testing

Rapid HIV testing is available from an increasing number of clinics and testing sites around the country. You can get your results within about 20 minutes, and all that’s required is a finger prick blood test (or possibly a mouth swab at some sites), not a full blood draw.

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Most places that offer rapid tests also offer testing for other STIs, so you can be tested for the whole sexual health kit and caboodle, and be out of there in around 30 minutes!

Rapid tests can take a bit longer to detect infections than tests done in laboratories, so, if you’ve had a recent HIV exposure, it’s a good idea to also have a blood test using a blood draw.

To find places in your area that offer rapid testing, please visit the Time to Test website.


Community-based testing services

Community-based testing services are most often staffed by trained, gay and same sex attracted guys who provide information on sexual health, talk you through the sexual health testing process and answer any questions you may have about HIV, STIs and sex.

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If the service has rapid HIV testing available, then these guys usually also administer the test and provides you with the test results in person during the same visit.

Most community-based testing services also offer testing for other STIs so you can get a full sexual health check in one go.

The difference between these services and many others is that because the staff are other gay and same sex attracted guys, they understand the anxiety and trepidation you may be feeling. They have probably been there themselves.

Community-based HIV testers are fully trained and can tell you pretty much everything you want to know about sexual health, so if you don’t feel comfortable seeing your GP or the doctors and nurses at your local sexual health clinic, community-based testing may be for you.

To find a community-based testing service near you, contact your local AIDS Council.


Home Testing

Home-based HIV testing can be a more convenient way of being tested for HIV for guys that don’t feel comfortable going to a testing service, or for guys outside big city centres or where there aren’t many testing service options.

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HIV home-based (or self-testing) tests kits are not yet approved for sale in Australia but are available online from overseas. If you are considering buying a home testing kit, make sure you do your research, and know where to access support in case you get a positive result.

Kits ordered online may not be a safe or appropriate test. There are several things to consider that can reduce this risk. This includes making sure that it’s been approved by relevant authorities in comparable countries (such as the USA, UK, or the European Union). It is also important to ensure that it’s been designed specifically for self-testing and has instructions for home use. Tests that are designed for clinicians may be more difficult to use and include instructions that are technical and difficult to understand. Also, keep in mind that most home-based tests have a longer window period than HIV blood tests done in laboratories. So if you’ve had a recent HIV exposure, a negative home-based test may not mean that you’re HIV-negative.

To find out where you can get an HIV test and sexual health check in your location, including where rapid testing is available, please visit the Time to Test website.