I would be willing to bet that many of our Tokyo readers have enjoyed an inebriated late-night hookup with no strings attached. After a few 9% CHU-HAIs the thought of keeping safe, wrapping up with a condom that fits, and avoiding the club rats can be a tall order. In the heat of the moment, it is nearly impossible to ponder whether your late night hookup partner has an STD.
Well, it appears we need to be more careful.
Just this year, Japanese hospitals are reporting that syphilis cases have seen a rapid increase with 4,259 syphilis cases from January to early December 2016, up 77 percent from the 2,412 cases logged in the same period in 2015.
Seeing that I’ve never tested in Japan, I thought what better time than now to get myself checked.
The challenge was to find a clinic where I could test for STDs with English speaking staff and was cheap with no Japanese Health Insurance
Where To Get Tested
I asked my friends for any tips but quickly realized that sexually transmitted diseases are rarely discussed and finding information on where to get tested with English test results would be challenging.
Like anything in Japan, finding reliable information in English can be a hurdle. After a few google searches I came across Japan Health Info, which provides home testing kits starting at 6,696 yen for an HIV testing kit, and 14,295 yen for the HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Candida and Trichomoniasis Kit. This website sounded like a convenient service, but I was looking for something dirt cheap.
After a few more google dives I came across the Shinjuku Public Health Center located at the Shinjuku Metropolitan Taxation Office. I sifted through the website and found an English hotline I could call to get details on STD testing ( 03-3369-7110 )
The Shinjuku Public Health Center performs STD and HIV tests twice a month on Thursdays from 1:30 pm to 3 pm. The tests are free, 100% confidential, and English speaking nurses would be available.
Upon arriving, there was a small sign that pointed me to a room where an English speaking Japanese nurse greeted me and handed me a number with a short survey to fill out. The place was surprisingly busy, so I suggest arriving before 1:30 to avoid having to wait too long. It was awkward sitting in a lobby full of people (both Japanese and foreign) getting tested for STDs, but I couldn’t complain since it was all free and 100% confidential.
After an hour of waiting, the staff called my number, and I was taken into a small room where an English speaking nurse took some of my questions. The nurse asked if I had any symptoms, about my recent sex history, and answered the questions I had. She also gave a short lecture on how important it is to check for STDs and also how chlamydia and syphilis rates are on the rise in Tokyo. After the consultation, she gave me a few pamphlets to take home, and I was brought to the next room where they took urine and blood samples.
It was all done in about 15 minutes, and I was told to come back one week later for my results. I was given a paper with my number on it with instructions to come back next week Thursday for the test results.
A week later I went back to the Shinjuku public health center with my paper in hand and was asked to wait till they called my number. Again, it was awkward watching other foreigners return from their rooms happy or distressed about their results.
My number was called and I was taken to a room with the nurse I met the week before and an additional Japanese nurse who gave me my results. Luckily I was all clean, but it was admittedly a nerve racking week.
The process was easy, convenient and FREE! I recommend our Tokyo Night Owls to consider getting tested if they haven’t in the past few years.
Below are the full details from the Shinjuku City Public Health Care Center.
Telephone Consultations concerning AIDS / STDs
●Shinjuku City Public Health Center Foreign Language Telephone Consultations
Languages: English, Thai, Spanish, and Portuguese
Hours: Thursdays (excludes holidays), 1 to 5 p.m.
Thai-speaking staff is present twice a month on Thursdays. (On the days HIV tests are conducted.)
Note: Consultation can be conducted on an anonymous basis.
●Japan HIV Center
Hours: First Saturday, noon to 3 p.m.
HIV Test (Consultations at the time of notification of test results are conducted by counselors who speak foreign languages)
Languages: English, Thai, Spanish, and Portuguese
Days: Twice a month on Thursday, as a rule (except national holidays)
Hours: 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Shinjuku City Public Health Center test site (Shinjuku Taxation Office 1F, 7-5-8 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku)
○Reservations are not required. Please come during reception hours on a test day.
○Syphilis, chlamydia and hepatitis B tests can also be taken at the same time upon request.
○Results are notified at the test location one week later, from the doctor directly to the patient only. Medical certificates and other documents are not issued.
- Consultation can be conducted on an anonymous basis and is free of charge.
- For more information, please call Shinjuku City Public Health Center Foreign Language Telephone Consultations at the number mentioned above.
Have you experienced testing for STD’s in Japan? Tips, advice? Share it in the comments!