For both men and women, tests for many STIs are as quick and easy as giving a urine sample. Some tests might also involve having blood taken, a visual examination to look for signs of infection, or using a swab (like a smaller, soft and rounded cotton bud) on the genital area. If a swab is needed, some services will offer you the option of using it yourself.
If you use an online service to order a home testing kit, you don't even need to go to a clinic or general practice. Make sure the service you use will help you get support as well as treatment if you need it.
And men, if you’ve heard scare stories about umbrella-shaped implements being inserted into your penis you can rest easy – it’s a myth.
As for the embarrassment, remember that health professionals carry out sexual health check-ups every day – and they don’t look at an STI test as a reflection on your behaviour, but as a responsible health choice.