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HIV test and STI test
What does a screening involve?
Your health care provider will ask you questions to assess your risk for having HIV or STIs. He may look at your body for any signs of an infection, such as a rash, discharge, sores... A blood and urine sample will be taken and send to the lab for screening. Depending on the tests used, it can take anything from minutes, to days for the results. When the results arrive, the healthcare professional will explain what the results means, and if they are positive, the next course of action regarding treatment.
When should you test?
The window period is the time between potential exposure to an STI or HIV infection and the point when the test will give an accurate result. For STIs the window period varies between a couple of days and several months. For HIV it varies depending on the test used. For a bloodtest via the lab the window period is 4 weeks. For an HIV self test it is 3 months.
How regular should you test?
Get tested for STIs and HIV:
- If you think you are at risk for HIV. If that risk was less than 72 hours ago, PEP might prevent an infection.
- If you have symptoms that may indicate HIV.
- If you have symptoms that may indicate an STI.
- Every 3 months when:
- you have more than 10 partners a year
- you have sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol on a regular basis
- you fuck without a condom with a new or casual partner
- Every 6 months when you have less than 10 partners a year.
- Every year when you have only sex with your regular partner.
What is the cost?
We can't tell you exactly how much an STI test or HIV test will cost. Different doctors have different fees and different laboratories ask different prices, sometimes you need to get tested more than once, etc.
If you are a Belgian resident it is mandatory to have health insurance. If you do not have a lot of cash with you on your doctor's visit, then you can ask your doctor to get the money directly from your health insurance, and you will only have to pay a small fee.