We offer a range of HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatment services across South Africa.
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HIV & STI FAQs
Testing for HIV and STIs may include a urine sample, pap smear and/or a blood test.
At Marie Stopes we have two ways to test for HIV and some STIs: a rapid test (with results while you wait) or a laboratory test (with results that take about 5 days to process).
You will NOT always know that you have an infection, often symptoms can be missed or mistaken and sometimes you may show no symptoms at all. Everyone who has sex is at risk of an STI and should be tested regularly. You should be tested if you have: • Unusual genital/anal discharge • Genital sores, growths or lumps • Pain when passing urine • Painful sex or bleeding after sex • Pain in the lower abdomen • Genital pain • Irregular bleeding between periods Symptoms of an STI may come and go; this does not mean that the infection is cured. Also, having one STI can make you more vulnerable to others. Be tested regularly. The risks of leaving an STI untreated can vary from pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, infertility in both men and women and even chronic debilitating secondary infections.
Common STIs include: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, syphilis, hepatitis A, B and C. The most common way STIs are transmitted is through vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom. Some STIs (like genital warts) can be transmitted from skin to skin contact during sex. Bacteria and viruses that cause STIs can be found in semen (sperm), vaginal and anal fluids, breast milk and blood (including mouth sores) and are passed on through: sexual intercourse, direct contact with infected blood, needle stick injuries or from mother to child during breastfeeding. The most common areas of the body infected are the genitals, anal area, mouth and throat. At Marie Stopes women can also be tested for common vaginal infections such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis and receive pap smears which test for precancerous cervical cells and the human papillomavirus (HPV).
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. People who have the virus are HIV positive and capable of passing the virus on to their sexual partners, through blood-to-blood contact or mother to child during delivery and breastfeeding. HIV weakens the immune system, which affects the body’s ability to fight common illnesses and to stay strong and healthy. It can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome for which there is currently no cure. Selected Marie Stopes centres also provide CD4 count services to clients who have tested positive for HIV. Make an online booking or call us on 0800 11 77 85.