Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that can be spread through unprotected sex. These can be caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Our range of easy to use home STI tests are up to 99.9% accurate, with fast results and discreet next day delivery.
How to get an STI test
We offer a range of STI tests that check for all common sexually transmitted infections. Getting a test with Superdrug Online Doctor is easy, simply:
- Choose which test you want
- Fill in a brief questionnaire and place your order
- Your test kit will be delivered to an address of your choice
Your test kit will contain everything you need to take a sample at home, with detailed instructions on how to use your test. You will then post your sample to our lab in a pre-paid envelope, included with the test kit, and get your results from our doctors a few days after the sample reaches the lab.
Security and confidentiality
At Superdrug Online Doctor your privacy is a priority. Messages between you and our team of doctors are secure, and our doctors will not divulge any sensitive information via text or by email. With your consent, our doctors may call you to ask for further information or to discuss sensitive results.
All of our STI tests are delivered in plain packaging, and do not show what is inside the package or who it is being sent by.
How long do STI test results take?
Once your sample has reached our lab it will normally take between 2 and 3 days to get your results, depending on the test. You can check your Superdrug Online Doctor account for results. When your results are available one of our doctors will message you through our secure messaging service. Our doctors will not text or email you with your results. This is to make sure that your STI test results are kept secure and private.
When should I test for an STI?
It may take a few days, or several weeks, to develop symptoms of an STI. Some people develop no symptoms or only mild symptoms. Having unprotected sex is how most people catch an STI. If you think there is a chance that you have caught an STI and you do not have symptoms, we would usually suggest you get tested after about 2 weeks.
It is important not to have sex without using a condom if you are concerned that you may have caught an STI. Use a condom for sex, including oral sex, until you have got the results from an STI test.
You should get a test if a sexual partner tells you they have symptoms of an STI or have a positive result for an STI. If a partner has a positive test for an STI you should also have a test whether or not you used a condom during sex. You may sometimes be able to get treatment for an STI before you get your own test results back if a partner has told you they tested positive. It depends on the infection they had. Speak to a doctor if you are unsure.
Should I get an STI test as soon as I have symptoms?
If you have symptoms of an STI you should get a test straight away.
Symptoms of an STI can include:
- a discharge from the penis, vagina, or anus (bottom)
- itchy genitals or anus
- pain or difficulty when peeing
- blisters or sores around your genitals or anus
- lumps or changes to the skin around your genitals or anus
- a skin rash
- unexpected or unusual bleeding from the vagina
How long to wait before an STI test?
If you are concerned that you may have caught an infection by having unprotected sex you may need to wait to be tested. To test for chlamydia or gonorrhoea you should wait 2 weeks. For syphilis and HIV infection you should wait 6 weeks.
Different STIs have different testing windows, so you should read the information on our test kit pages to find out the best time to get tested.
How soon after unprotected sex can I test for an STI?
If you have symptoms of an STI then you should test as soon as possible. It is also important not to have unprotected sex if you do have symptoms.
Not all STIs will show symptoms and some people display few or no symptoms. If you are concerned that you may have caught an STI you should take an STI test around 14 days after having unprotected sex.
If a sexual partner tells you they have developed symptoms of an STI you should take an STI test. You should do this even if you don't have symptoms yourself.
Do I need to get a follow up test?
For most STIs, you will only need one test. There are some infections where you may need to take a follow up test at a later date. HIV and syphilis can take up to 12 weeks to show in test results, depending on the type of test you do. If you have a test for other STIs your doctor may advise a follow up test for these infections.
Follow up tests for syphilis and HIV may be recommended if you have symptoms of, or have tested positive for:
- genital herpes
- genital warts
How to use an STI test
There are three types of tests for an STI:
A urine (pee) test
A swab test
A blood test
Urine tests are used for chlamydia and gonorrhoea in men. A swab test may be taken by women for these conditions. Herpes testing involves taking a swab from a sore. Syphilis and HIV require a blood test, this may be taken from your arm, or by pricking your finger. Your Superdrug Online Doctor order will come with full instructions on how to use your STI kit.
STI Swab tests
Swab tests involve taking a sample from either the urethra (where pee comes out) or the vagina. For herpes infections, you may need to take a swab from one of the sores and this may be on your genitals or anus.
STI Urine Tests
This is the simplest type of test for an STI and involves peeing into a sample jar, just as you would when providing a urine sample at your GP surgery. This test is most accurate for men.
STI Blood Tests
An STI home test for syphilis or HIV will involve a test called a ‘pin prick’ test. You will need to take a prick of blood from your finger to test for these infections. This is done by using a ‘lancet’ which is provided in the kit. Full instructions are provided and you can check with your Superdrug Online Doctor if you need any help.
What do I do if I test positive?
We will try to process your STI test as quickly as possible. If you test positive for an STI our doctors will be able to advise you on the next steps. This will include advice on which treatments are available for the STI that you have.
For most STIs, Superdrug Online Doctor will be able to arrange the treatment you need and you can get a prescription from one of our doctors. Delivery options are the same as for your STI test. Treatments are packaged discreetly so that it is not possible to tell what is inside the package.
Your doctor will also advise you on the practical steps you should take to reduce the risk of passing on an infection. This may include not having sex until the infection is cleared up or only having protected sex using a condom.
Most common STIs in the UK can be treated or suppressed. This will minimise the effect they have on your life.
Syphilis is usually treated with injectable antibiotics and the time it takes to treat it will depend on how long you have had the infection. You will need to get treatment for this at a sexual health clinic. If you have had syphilis for less than two years a short course of antibiotics may be all that is needed. One of our doctors will be able to give you further advice and recommend any alternative options.
HIV cannot be cured but it can be managed with the correct treatment. Most people with HIV will live a normal, healthy life if the condition is managed correctly. If you test positive for HIV our doctors will advise you on the next steps you need to take.
HIV treatment (2021) Terrence Higgins Trust [accessed 07 July 2021]
How long should I wait before I test? (2020) Oxfordshire Sexual Health Service [accessed 07 July 2021]
How soon do STI symptoms appear? (2019) NHS Online [accessed 07 July 2021]
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (2018) NHS Online [accessed 07 July 2021]