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Whether you’re in a monogamous relationship, engaging in sex with multiple partners, or choosing to abstain, you will make decisions that affect your sexual health. Therefore, it’s important to understand what steps you can take to enjoy a healthy and positive sex life. This page firstly covers commonly transmitted STIs, outlining level of risk and symptoms. Information about access to and availability of testing and treatment options in Japan is then provided. Next, a more in-depth look at HIV is offered. The testing process, treatment and support systems, as well as preventative measures—PEP and PrEP—are discussed. Please consider this a non-judgmental and sex-positive introductory resource page for individuals living in Japan. There are links to more detailed information throughout and a table containing resources at the end,

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs)

Assessing Level of Risk 

Having sex comes with risk. Some decisions may increase risk (e.g. using drugs that alter perception), while others may decrease risk (e.g. using a condom). Risk of transmission can depend on the sexual act performed and whether or not a condom is used. However, safer sex is much more than just condom use. Before engaging in sex, it can be a good idea to talk about practices that will help you feel safe and comfortable with your partner(s). 


It is important to educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of potential STIs. It is also important to understand that you may not experience any symptoms, or that it might take time for symptoms to appear. If you do receive a positive diagnosis for any STI, it is advised to take care of your health and follow the advice of health care providers. Another consideration is to inform recent sexual partners, so they know to get tested too. Contracting an STI can be scary, painful, or embarrassing, but it is also a normal part of an active, healthy sex life. It can happen to someone who enjoys sex with multiple partners, or to someone who’s in a monogamous relationship.  Emotions such as betrayal, anger, or guilt may come up for you or your partner(s). Remember, an STI isn’t something that someone does to someone else: it’s just something that happens, like catching a cold.

Window Period

After exposure, it takes time for an STI to show up accurately on a test.. This period, between contracting an STI and an accurate positive or negative on a test, is known as the Window Period, and is different depending on the STI, ranging from a few days to a few months, as shown in this chart . More detailed information about the window period for HIV can be found in the HIV-specific section later in this page.


Deciding how often to get tested for STIs can depend on a number of factors (e.g. frequency of sex, number of sexual partners, safer sex practices, etc.). Keeping in mind window periods, you may choose to get tested at regular intervals, such as every 3 months. Many public health centers in Japan provide free and anonymous testing for the following four STIs:

  • HIV (Blood test)
  • Syphilis—梅毒 [BAI-DOKU] (Blood test)
  • Gonorrhoea—淋病 [RIN-BYO] (Urine test)
  • Chlamydia—クラミジア [KU-RA-MI-JIA] (Urine test)

The procedure and services provided can vary from site to site. Some centres require an appointment; they may or may not have non-Japanese language support; and they may not test for all of the STIs listed above. Typically, you will have to return to the centre for the results a week after testing. Depending on your results, you may receive counseling and treatment.

Urologists (for men), OB/GYNs (for women) and general private practitioners may offer STI testing and treatment at a cost. This generally includes tests for HIV, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis, but may also include testing for hepatitis B and C as well as herpes simplex and other STIs. The fees involved will depend on whether or not the patient is presenting symptoms, and whether the clinic in question takes Japanese National Health Insurance. If you have symptoms, National Health Insurance may cover the tests, treatments and medications, depending on the clinic’s policies. This means that STI screenings as part of a regular check-up routine are not covered. Compared with the free services offered by public health centers, results will generally be available sooner at private clinics, and may be received via email or phone.  Again, follow-up appointments and treatment, as well as their associated fees, will depend on test results. You may be referred to a dermatologist (皮ふ科; HI-FU-KA) for diagnosis or treatment of the following STIs:

  • Genital warts—尖圭コンジローマ [SEI-KEI-KON-JI-RO-MA]
  • Herpes—性器ヘルペス [SEI-KI HE-RU-PE-SU]
  • Pubic Lice—毛じらみ [KE-JI-RA-MI]
  • Scabies—疥癬 [KAI-SEN]


Also keep in mind that non-Japanese language support may be limited in the case of all the health providers mentioned above. While you may be able to navigate these scenarios with limited Japanese ability, it’s important to consider that you may need an interpreter (e.g. a Japanese-speaking friend) to accompany you. The resources section at the bottom of this page includes some facilities with non-Japanese language support.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV is a manageable disease with ongoing treatment options. Without treatment, HIV will in almost all cases eventually progress to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) which leaves the individual susceptible to a variety of infectious diseases. With antiretroviral treatment, it is possible to continue to lead a normal, healthy life after being diagnosed as HIV-positive. Someone receiving treatment, with undetectable levels of HIV in their blood, cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners – read more about this, known as U=U (undetectable = untransmittable), here.

HIV Testing Window Period

The HIV antibody test is a blood test that detects the presence of HIV antibodies. It takes the body time to build up antibodies to the virus in numbers sufficient enough to show up on a test. It has been recommended that initial testing take place at least two weeks after potential exposure, however, the most accurate results will be after three months. This waiting period is known as the “window period”. More recently, rapid combined testing for HIV-1 p24 antigen and HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies has become available. For this method, results can be available within an hour of testing. In Japan, rapid testing is available at some free clinics and general practitioner clinics, but again, you will have to wait some time after the potential exposure event. The rapid test can detect infection as early as two weeks after potential exposure, but repeat testing at three months is recommended even if the initial test is negative.

What it means to test positive

For HIV, if the screening test is positive, a confirmatory test is recommended. Once a positive status has been confirmed, referral to a specialist can be made for further evaluation and treatment. Throughout this process, you may be feeling a lot of different emotions from fear to guilt, and it is important for you to know that you don’t have to go through this alone. There are different avenues for finding support. If you do not feel comfortable reaching out to friends or family, there are active online communities that can provide information and support. Please also consider reaching out to TELL Lifeline: we are here to listen.

Below are some other considerations following confirmation of positive status:

  • Avoidance of re-infection—It is important to understand that there are different strains of HIV.  It is possible to contract multiple strains. If you get infected with two or more strains of HIV, the effectiveness of treatment could be impacted.
  • Plans for notifying others—Disclosing your HIV status is a personal choice. Stigma around HIV still exists and the fear of being judged is valid. You may want to consider how you approach disclosing your HIV status to the following people:
    • Former and current sexual partners
    • Friends and family
    • Health service providers (therapists, fertility treatment, etc.)
    • Service providers (tattooists, etc.)
    • Employers and colleagues


Treatment in Japan

There are various drugs available to treat HIV in Japan. Depending on your circumstances, you may take a combination of pills or a single pill orally once a day. These days, side effects are minimal. However, it is important to consult your healthcare provider should adverse effects persist; you may need to be put on an alternative drug regime. Normally, you will be prescribed 3 months worth of pills, and you will need to visit your healthcare provider to renew the prescription and receive counseling and blood tests. Social welfare is available to cover part of the prescription cost as well as doctor fees. The welfare system can be challenging to navigate, especially if you have limited Japanese language ability and nobody to support you with that. But resources and access to affordable treatment options are available and it is possible to continue living in Japan. There are no restrictions on living in Japan as a person living with HIV; you can read more about living in Japan as a person with HIV here.

Prevention Measures in Japan 

Antiretrovirals (ARVs) have been used to prevent infection in case of exposure to HIV for many years. This intervention is called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and involves taking a 28-day course of ARVs. These drugs work to stop the spread of HIV throughout the body.  Use of PEP may be considered in those who are currently HIV negative and may have been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours. Another ARV treatment is called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).  PrEP is a daily pill for people who don’t have HIV, and who want to reduce the risk of getting it. For more information on PEP and PrEP, please see here: HIV: PrEP and PEP

PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis):

  • PEP is not a standard prescription, and you may have to ask for it
  • PEP is not 100% effective in preventing infection
  • PEP is not covered by Japanese National Health Insurance and is expensive (initial cost of ¥220,000~240,000). 
  • A generic version is also available at some clinics, and costs around ¥80,000.
  • Payment in full will be required prior to dispensing of medications 
  • Medication needs to be taken daily for 28 days

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylactic)

  • PrEP has become more available in recent years in Japan, and a more affordable generic version is also available
  • Before beginning PrEP, it is required to undergo tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and kidney function, and possibly for other STIs
  • Ongoing monitoring by a physician is required while taking PrEP, and before discontinuing
  • PrEP cannot be taken if you are HIV positive


STI/HIV Resources

Name and 

contact info







Database of facilities offering testing for HIV (may include other STIs) around Japan. 

English website available. Information on testing sites and other services with non-Japanese language support available





Multilingual info on medical institutions with foreign languages; information on Japan’s medical welfare system. Telephone interpretation services.

Chinese, English, Korean, Portuguese, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese





Medical Information Service

Website available in English and Chinese; can search for clinics based on available language support

PrEP in Japan



Information about clinics offering PrEP around Japan

Japanese language site (some clinics listed may have non-Japanese language support)

Tokyo Metropolitan Testing and Counseling Office



Shinjuku, Tokyo

Free, anonymous testing for HIV and syphilis (gonorrhoea and chlamydia testing also available during certain months)

English language support available

Shinjuku Public Health Centre HIV/STD Testing



Shinjuku, Tokyo

Free, anonymous testing for HIV and (on request) syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis B

English, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai language support available

Personal Health Clinic



Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Testing for a range of STIs; PEP and PrEP (generic versions available, online prescription for PrEP available) Japanese Health Insurance not accepted, pay out of pocket.

English language support available. Telephone interpretation available for other languages.

Shirakaba Clinic





Shinjuku, Tokyo

Testing for a range of STIs, pre and post test counselling available. 

English language support available

Aozora Clinic




03-3506-8880 (Shimbashi)

03-3344-8880 (Shinjuku)

Shimbashi and Shinjuku, Tokyo

Testing for a range of STIs, PEP and PrEP. Japanese Health Insurance not accepted, pay out of pocket.

Japanese language only, please bring an interpreter

Karada Clinic


03-3495-0192 (Gotanda)

03-6416-3127 (Shibuya)

Gotanda and Shibuya, Tokyo

Testing for a range of STIs, PEP and PrEP (generic versions available) Japanese health insurance accepted depending on circumstances (excludes PEP and PrEP which are self-funded medical treatment)

Some English language support available

AIDS Treatment Research and Development Centre (ACC)



HIV treatment, PEP

Some doctors may speak English

NPO Place



Support and information for people living with HIV

English language information and links to English language support

Tokyo HIV/AIDS telephone consultation


Telephone consultation regarding HIV/AIDS

Japanese language only

Osaka Public Health Center Testing 


Osaka city

Free, anonymous testing for HIV and syphilis (plus chlamydia or hepatitis B depending on centre)

Non-Japanese language support not guaranteed. Website is mainly in Japanese; some information in English towards the bottom of the page



Osaka prefecture

Testing, information and support

Japanese language only

Smart Life Clinic


Osaka city 

Free, anonymous testing for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B

Chinese, English and Vietnamese language support available on certain dates

Idaten Clinic


Osaka city

STI testing, PEP and PrEP – generic versions available, telemedicine and delivery available

English language support available

Taniguchi International Clinic





Osaka city

STI testing, PEP and PrEP – generic versions available

English language support available

Kyoto City Public Health Centre



Kyoto city

Free, anonymous testing for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia

English interpretation available via Charm



06-6354-5901 (hotline)



Multi-language support for people living with HIV. Telephone/face to face consultation, medical interpreting, etc. 

Multi Language, depends on particular service

Chugoku-Shikoku Regional AIDS Centre




Information about HIV testing, PEP and Social Welfare system

English website




Information about STI testing in Kyushu and Yamaguchi. Community centre for sexual minorities in Fukuoka city.

Japanese language only

English|H.POT – HIV multilingual info Japan


Information about HIV/AIDS in Japan

Website available in various languages

Tokyo Sexual Health



Sexual health information

English website and links to non Japanese language support

JFAP AIDS Support Line



0120-177-812 (toll-free)

03-5259-1815 (from mobile)


Information, resources, support line

Japanese language only