What is a Male STI test?
A male STI test is a kit that is used at home to check for common STIs in men. This is done by taking a urine (pee) sample, a cotton swab of the throat and anus, and a small finger prick blood sample.
There are two different male STI tests, a basic and a full screening test. The basic test checks for some common STIs, while the full screening tests for a wider range, like genital herpes and hepatitis.
What does the basic male STI test check for?
The basic male STI test checks for a number of different STIs including:
- gonorrhoea of the genitals, throat and anus
- chlamydia of the genitals, throat and anus
What does the full male STI test check for?
The full male STI test checks for:
- gonorrhoea of the genitals, throat, and anus
- chlamydia of the genitals, throat, and anus
What are these infections?
Gonorrhoea: Typical symptoms of this infection caused by bacteria include pain when peeing and yellow discharge from the penis. Around 1 in 10 infected men do not get any symptoms at all. This is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection.
Chlamydia: One of the most common in the UK and most people do not know they have it. If you do get symptoms, the most common include pain when peeing, discharge from the penis, and swelling in the testicles. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.
Syphilis: This STI is caused by bacteria. It can cause serious problems if left untreated but can be cured with antibiotics. The most common symptoms include ulcers on the penis, rashes, white patches in the mouth, fever, tiredness, and headaches.
HIV: Caused by a virus which damages the cells in your body, making it harder for you to fight off infections and diseases. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS. There is no cure but there are treatments to stop symptoms which contain specific combinations of antiviral medication, slightly similar to PrEP. Please note PreP medication is not a treatment for HIV and is for pre-exposure prohylaxis only. HIV can cause flu symptoms 2 to 6 weeks after infection but some people do not develop symptoms at the early stages, meaning they do not know they have it.
Genital herpes: Caused by a virus called herpes simplex and is very contagious. You can also catch cold sores on the lips, which can be transmitted to the genitals, if they come into contact. The virus stays in the body and sometimes you will get outbreaks. The most common symptoms of an outbreak are tingling and pain in the penis or testicles, pain when peeing, and small blisters around the penis. Antiviral medication and pain relief can be given to treat outbreaks.
Ureaplasma: Caused by bacteria that is commonly found in the genital area. The bacteria can overgrow, leading to symptoms. The most common symptoms include pain when peeing, burning, or discharge from the penis.
Hepatitis B and C: Both of these STIs are caused by a virus, which leads to liver infections. It can also be spread through sharing needles, having tattoos or medical or dental treatment without sterilised equipment, or can be passed from an infected mother to her child. People with HIV are more likely to get Hepatitis B or C. There is no cure but there are treatments to stop symptoms. The most common symptoms include stomach pain, fever, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), and nausea (feeling sick). If you’ve recently received a hepatitis B vaccination, you should wait 8 weeks before taking this test. You may get a false positive result if you take this test sooner.
Trichomoniasis: This STI is caused by a tiny parasite. Half of people do not get any symptoms but can still pass on the infection. The most common symptoms include pain when peeing, swelling or redness around the foreskin, and discharge from the penis. Trichomoniasis can be treated with antibiotics.
Mycoplasma: Caused by bacteria and is found in around 1 in 100 adults. The most common symptoms are a watery discharge from the penis and pain when peeing. It can be hard to treat, so you may need a few different antibiotic treatments to get rid of the infection.
Gardnerella: This is a species of bacteria that can contribute to bacterial vaginosis (BV) and mainly causes symptoms in women. For men, it can cause an inflammation of the urethra (where pee and semen passes through). Men usually do not show any symptoms though and do not need treatment, but it may be passed to a female partner.
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