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Getting tested

When should you test?

When you are infected with an organism, such as a bacteria or virus, your infection will go through a number of phases. In general, infections can be divided into three main stages: incubation, prodrome and illness.

During the early phases, you may not feel like you have any symptoms at all, however, you are still likely to pass on the infection during person-to-person sexual contact.

Incubation occurs from when you are exposed and up until characteristic symptoms start. During this phase it is possible that your test could be falsely negative. Incubation periods vary from a few days to months and this is known as the ‘incubation period’ or ‘window period’. If you have had recent potential exposure to an STI, you should re-test at the following times after exposure.


Who can order a SmartHealth STI screen?

SmartHealth STI screening is available to anyone from 18 years of age.

Incubation (window) periods

STI Type of Infection Incubation (window period) Sample
Chlamydia Bacteria: Chlamydia trachmatis 2 weeks Urine
Throat swab
Rectal swab
Vaginal swab
Gonorrhoea Bacteria: Neisseria gonorrhoeae 2 weeks Urine
Throat swab
Rectal swab
Vaginal swab
Syphilis Bacteria: Treponema pallidum subsp. Pallidum 12 weeks Blood
HIV Virus: Human immunodeficiency virus 6 weeks Blood
Hepatitis A (HAV) Virus: Hepatitis A virus 4 weeks  Blood
Hepatitis B (HBV) Virus: Hepatitis B virus 6 weeks  Blood
Hepatitis C (HCV) Virus: Hepatitis C virus 6 weeks  Blood

Referenced using  the Australian STI Management Guidelines.

When you start experiencing mild or vague symptoms, this is the prodromal phase. During the illness phase you experience the typical symptoms of the infection.

If you have any symptoms , we recommend you do not proceed with SmartHealth STI and instead see a doctor for investigation and treatment.