How to Check Clients for Visible Signs of STIs

The first step in avoiding exposure to STIs is to check your clients for visible signs of STIs. It’s best to check your client after you have taken the money and before they have a shower or go to the toilet. Urinating can clear penile discharge and it will take approximately half an hour for it to build before it is visible again. Sometimes STIs can have no symptoms. So an absence of visible symptoms does not necessarily indicate an absence of STIs. For this reason, checking for visible signs of STIs should be followed by safer sex practices.

Checking clients for visible signs of STIs is fairly common practice in the sex industry, particularly if your workplace offers full service. Your client may be expecting a health check from having been checked by other workers before. You can discreetly check your client for STIs while helping your client undress for the shower, when performing an erotic massage or giving them a hand job. Try to get as much lighting as possible while you inspect for visible signs of STIs by brightening the lights or turning all the lights on. Additionally, remember to wash your hands after inspecting their genital area to ensure you do not transfer bacteria from your client’s genital area to your genitals.

Peer skills performance, SWASH Japan (c)

Where to look

  • Lift the penis and have a good look around the genital area
  • Lift up the testicles and pull back the foreskin
  • Look over the tip of the penis
  • Look between the area of the anus and penis or vagina
  • Around the anal area
  • Through the pubic hair
  • Look between vaginal lips
  • Look over mouth and lips for blisters and sores, especially if you kiss your clients

What to look for

  • Sores, blisters, rashes, and warts
  • Itching, redness, swollen glands, unpleasant odour
  • Crabs (public lice)
  • Discharge or bleeding
  • Look over the tip of the penis for inflammation
  • Check over the rest of the body for sores, just to be sure
  • If you are unsure, ask another worker for their opinion

Milking the Penis

  • Gently squeeze along the shaft of the penis to see if an abnormal discharge emerges that is distinguishable from pre-cum
  • If it is milky, thick, yellowish, greyish and/or smelly it could be gonorrhoea
  • Pre-cum can look normal but it may still be carrying STIs or BBVs

Before you start working, it a good idea to consider what you would like to do if you suspect a client has an STI. If you are able to, discuss with a trusted co-worker what they would do in that circumstance. It is also a good idea to find out what management or the receptionist will provide in the way of support if you suspect a client has an STI and want to cancel or change the booking.

Before starting your shift, try to organise a co-worker that can back you up and conduct a second inspection on the client if you are unsure or the client is insisting they do not have an STI. If you choose to continue with the booking, offer to provide an alternative service, such as a hand job or an erotic act like masturbating in front of them while they masturbate themselves. Refer to Sex Work Services for more ideas.