Looking after your sexual health is important, and getting a regular sexual health test are a vital part of this. You should aim to get a sexual health test once every 3 months – especially if you change partners. You should get a sexual health check-up immediately if you have been told that a sexual partner has syphilis.
A check-up may involve:
If you have had a previous syphilis infection, syphilis antibodies will always show (reactive) positive on a rapid test. For this reason, if you have tested positive for syphilis in the past, only a blood test will give an accurate result.
I migrated to Australia as an international student when I was 18. Coming to Australia alone at such a young age was not easy. I was insecure, spoke little English, and was still learning about myself and my queerness.
I may have an STI (sexually transmitted infection). It became evident I needed guidance and medical treatment. At this time, I did not understand the process of a STI test, nor had the
Thanks to these experiences, friends I made along the way and organisations, such as the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health, I am more confident and I understand that we all play an important role in the safety, education and empowerment of our communities.
Sexual health can be difficult to talk about, but good communication is key to ending stigma and reinforcing that there is no shame to test. It’s okay to test positive to an STI, it is very common. More importantly, we shouldn’t feel ashamed about letting our sexual partner (or partners) know if we have tested positive for an STI.
I realised there are many clinics in Queensland that test for free, and provide free treatment – no Medicare card required.
Now that I am more knowledgeable, I am more confident, which makes getting a sexual health check-up easy! This is how I do it:
Regular sexual health tests make me feel empowered, confident, and in control of my sexual health. I am now grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in Australia, the lessons I have learnt and for being able to call this side of the world my home – the place where I live, work, play and love.
The good news is that syphilis is curable.
Treatment for syphilis is usually a one-time injection of antibiotics. However, depending on the stage of infection, a course of treatment may be required.
Medication is free at all public and some private clinics (the consultation may require payment)
It’s important to remember that even if you have been treated for syphilis, it is possible to become reinfected if you are exposed to the infection again. You don’t become immune.