The CDC recommends you get tested every 3 to 6 months if you are a man who has sex with men (MSM), or if your partner is MSM. Additionally, if you are a trans or non-binary person who has sex with men we recommend you get tested every 3 to 6 months as well.
Only certain bodily fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from a person who has HIV can transmit the virus. These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane, damaged tissue, or be directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to occur. Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, vagina, penis, and mouth. You cannot transmit HIV through saliva, urine, sweat, or tears.
HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis C samples are collected via a blood draw. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea can be done with a urine sample and/or a swab of your throat and rectum. It’s important to provide swab samples if you’ve had oral or anal sex since these areas may be infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea but urine samples won’t find those infections. Swab tests are done with a sterile swab that is sent to the lab for testing.
The sexual health team at Fenway offers testing for HIV, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. If you want to receive any other kinds of STI testing, we suggest you reach out to your primary care provider.
All STIs have a window period before they can provide an accurate result. A window period is the time between the moment of potential infection to when the virus can be detected in your body. This window period varies for each sexually transmitted infection (STI)
You should receive your results in 7-10 business days.
Legally, any positive results for an STI must be reported to The Department of Public Health (DPH) but will not be shared with anyone else.
Yes – you and your partner can choose to have your HIV/STI testing done together by a trained health navigator.
You may have heard the term U = U, or undetectable equals untransmittable. This means people whose HIV viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood stream) is stably suppressed, cannot sexually transmit the virus. HIV treatment can reduce the viral load in the bodily fluids that transmit HIV to undetectable levels. To become and remain undetectable, people living with HIV should take their HIV treatment as prescribed. In addition to taking HIV medications, regular medical visits are important to monitor viral load and keep you as healthy as possible.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prevention method used by people who are HIV-negative. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medications continuously work to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is meant to be taken every day for however long the individual wants this method of prevention against HIV. PrEP is only offered as a prescription. Individuals can cease their PrEP regimen or reengage whenever they find it necessary. The “pre” in pre-exposure prophylaxis means the medication is taken before the potential exposure. PrEP protects you against HIV only, so make sure you continue to test for other STIs while taking PrEP
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) refers to the use of antiretroviral drugs for people who are HIV-negative after a single high-risk exposure to stop HIV infection. PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective – always within 72 hours of a possible exposure – and continued for 4 weeks. The “post” in post-exposure prophylaxis means the medication is taken after the potential exposure.