If you’ve had an unprotected sexual encounter while on holiday, it’s a good idea to get an STD test. However, while travelling, you may not have access to your usual testing services. In this blog, our experts will discuss how to access STD testing services while you’re on holiday, how long testing takes, and what to do if your test comes back positive.
Where can you get an STD test when travelling? If you’re travelling in the UK, you can get STD testing kits delivered to your place of stay, or you can drop into a private sexual health clinic near you. If you are outside of the UK you can visit a clinic depending on the country you are in, but you will have to follow local procedures.
If you’ve found yourself swept away in an unexpected (and unprotected) holiday romance, you must put your health first and get tested. Keep reading to find out how you can quickly get your hands on a reliable STD testing kit.
How Do I Test for an STD When Traveling?
Accessing STD testing will differ if you are in the UK or if you are abroad. Below, we outline most convenient options for STD testing whilst travelling. For more information, read our other blog on what to do if you’ve had unprotected sex whilst on holiday.
STD Testing in the UK
If you’re travelling within the UK, there are several easy-to-access options for STD testing. Find out more below.
Online STD Testing
If you’re staying in the UK, you can order discrete at-home testing kits to your hotel or chosen place of stay. We offer a variety of testing kits suitable for all testing needs, including individual tests, and comprehensive profile tests. Your samples can be dropped off at the nearest postbox once samples have been collected.
Your lab samples should be sent off as soon as you have collected them, but bear in mind that postage times may delay your results.. However, once our lab has received the samples, you should receive your results within 2-5 days.
Click & Collect
If you’re unable to receive deliveries at your place of stay, you can use Click & Collect when ordering your STD test online. We can arrange for your at-home test kit to be delivered to the Royal Mail Post Office that is closest to your specified location. We used first-class postage on all testing kits, so you can pick up your kit within 1-2 days.
Private Sexual Health Clinic
We have private sexual health clinics located across the UK, including in all major towns and cities. Once you have booked an appointment, you simply turn up to one of our private clinics and get your blood, urine, or swab sample collected. We’ll send your sample to an accredited lab, and you will receive your results within 5 days.
Where to Get STD Testing Abroad
Testing for STDs while abroad may be harder, but it is still possible. Find our recommendations below.
Order Your STD Test Online
Depending on where you are located, you may be able to order a test kit online to your place of stay. If this isn’t possible, you could be proactive in ordering a test kit to your UK address that you can take as soon as you’re back.
Visiting a Sexual Health Clinic
When visiting a doctor overseas, you will have to abide by the local systems and cost they have in place. However, STD testing might not be covered by your insurance, so it’s worth checking with your insurance provider before booking your appointment. If you’re returning to the UK within a week of symptoms first appearing, you could book an appointment at one of our private sexual health clinics for when you return.
How Long Should I Wait Before STD Testing on Holiday?
You may be eager to find out if you have contracted an STD, but it’s generally not possible to test for them straight away. Most STD tests are accurate 14 days after the unprotected sexual encounter. Standard HIV tests take even longer and are the most accurate after 28 days. Find out more on how long STD symptoms take to appear on our sexual health blog.
If you are going to be back home within two weeks, we would recommend waiting for testing until you get home. You can book screening appointments well in advance, and even get tested the same day you return.
What STD Symptoms Should I Look Out For On Holiday?
If you’ve had unprotected sex while travelling, you should regularly check for common STI symptoms, as well as booking yourself in for an STD test when you get home. While symptoms will depend on the type of STD you may have come into contact with, there are some telltale signs that you may have an STD;
- Unusual discharge that has a change in smell, colour, or texture
- Pain in the lower abdomen or while you pee
- Sores, blisters, rashes, and spots around the genitals
- For women, unusual bleeding after sex or between periods
You should also note that just because you don’t have any symptoms, it doesn’t mean you don’t have an STD. Some STDs won’t cause symptoms for some people, but they can still be transmitted.
How Long Does It Take for STD Testing Results to Come Back?
If you’ve ordered an at-home testing kit in the UK, the tests should be received by the laboratory 24 – 48 hours after they have been dropped at the postbox. Depending on the types of tests taken, results can take anywhere from four hours to five days to be processed by the lab.
If you’re after a faster result for your STD test, try our Quick Turnaround tests. These tests have just a one day turnaround time once they’ve reached the laboratory. For more information on how long testing takes, read our recent blog post.
Should I Book a Sexual Health Check-Up After a Holiday?
If you decided not to test whilst travelling, you should certainly book a sexual health checkup when you are back home, at least two weeks after your sexual encounter. Even if you are showing no symptoms, it is still possible you could have an STD. Over 70% of women never experience any symptoms of chlamydia.
What Should I do if my STD Test Comes Back Positive?
First of all, try not to panic. If you choose to test with one of our confidential testing services, you will get access to our free GP services for any positive STD results. Your dedicated GP will provide you with full effective care up until the end of your treatment.
Private STD Testing with Your Sexual Health
If possible, we would recommend getting tested in the UK after at least two weeks of possible exposure to an STD. Here at Your Sexual Health, we offer a range of accessible screening services to suit everyone. We have 100+ private sexual health clinics across the UK, and we also offer discreet at-home testing kits that can be ordered online.