Testing More in a Good Season

DoctorWe can all have our on and off seasons. Sometimes we end up sitting on the sidelines while other times we are busy playing the field and barely have a chance to rest. But the more we play, the more we need to maintain our equipment; and in this context that means testing.

For many guys, how often we should test may not be something we are very familiar with!.  More often than not, testing may be one of those things that we can easily forget about or just put off for a while. We may go for an HIV and STI test when we have a symptom like discharge or an itch, or some uncertainty from an encounter. But when things ‘seem’ alright it’s not that uncommon to just simply forget or put off testing.

Regardless of why we may or may not test, there are some pretty straight forward points to keep in mind to help us figure out how often we should test. These are level of risk, what we did, number of sexual partners, and other events such as entering into a relationship.

Depending on these factors, the general rule of thumb is that guys will fall into one of three testing periods; once a year, twice a year or every three months. Of course, the greater the risk and higher number of partners means the more often we test. Guys that have ten or more casual partners in six months should aim to test every three months. If you have between two and nine partners in a six month period test twice a year, and if you have had one partner it is still advisable to test yearly.

Regardless of the kind of sex we have, if condoms are not used, there can always be some level of risk of HIV or STIs. If we have a few casual partners, but engage in higher risk activities, we may want to test more frequently.

While it is excellent practice to get into a testing routine, things happen. If you feel you have put yourself at risk or notice symptoms such as discharge, rashes, bumps etc, you don’t need to wait for your next routine test, just make an appointment to get tested.

So remember if you want to stay on your game then take care of your equipment.

For information on where you can go for an HIV and STI test go to itest.org.au or call 9482 0000. Or call the M Clinic (for men who have sex with men) at 9227 0734

Tony Bober

WA AIDS Council

Image: Stock Image

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