Sexual Health in Kumamoto (STD-HIV Testing)

Sexual Health


Some attitudes about sex and sexuality are different in Japan than in our home countries.  As with most places in the world, the most important to things are to be informed and be careful!



Japanese condoms for men tend to be smaller than their western counterparts.  Some JETs get Western-sized condoms sent from home or order them on the Internet (try or  The female condom is sold under the name “MyFemy”


Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills are available in Japan but they cannot be purchased at a public hospital.  They are not very common or popular with Japanese women.  Private hospitals and clinics can distribute the Pill, but some JETs get the Pill sent from home or order them on the Internet   (try ,  You can import one month’s supply at a time and you need to include a prescription from the doctor. 


The Morning-After Pill

In Japan, the “Morning After Pill” is officially only given in emergencies as it is viewed by many Japanese doctors as unsafe.  In Japanese, it is called ‘kei kou shinin yaku,’ or in katakana ‘moriningu afuta pilu’.  It must be taken within 72 hours after the incident.  It is not covered by national insurance and you cannot get it at a pharmacy without a prescription.  Fukuda Women’s Hospital is the only place in Kumamoto willing to administer this pill. 


HIV/AIDS and other STD Tests

HIV/AIDS and other STD tests are available for free at Public Health Centers (hankenjo).  The central hankenjo is in downtown Kumamoto City, but there are branch centers in other areas. The tests are anonymous.  You need to return to the center in person a week after the test to get your results.  Gynecologists and General Practitioners can also do the tests if asked but they may cost more.  (SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS)



Fukuda Women’s Hospital is the best place in Kumamoto for women’s health-related concerns. It is located near the central post office and the Kotsu Center in central Kumamoto. The clinic is open weekdays 9:00 - 6:00 and Saturday 9:00 - 6:00.  There are English speaking doctors (Dr. Yamamoto and Dr. Obaru) who are used to working with foreigners.  The phone number is 322-2995.


Pregnancy and Pregnancy Tests

The home pregnancy test called “Clear Blue” is available at pharmacists (chemists) for about 500Yen.  It is reportedly quite accurate and comes with English instructions. 

If you decide to have a baby in Japan, you need to register the pregnancy at your city/town/village office.  You will be given a mother and child information booklet and the Tokyo Childbirth Education Association (see the JET Diary) has information about pregnancy and childbirth in Japan.



Abortion seems to be the most common way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy in Japan.  It is not covered by insurance and cannot be done after the second trimester. Fukuda Hospital in Kumamoto City is able to do abortions.  While abortion is still a big decision for women (and their partners) to make, there is often minimal counseling offered at the clinic. 


For more information on any of these topics, feel free to contact the Prefectural Advisors.

All inquiries are confidential!




STD/HIV Testing Info
(Late Update . . . Jan. 25, 2010)
For the time being, we have two recommended facilities for HIV/STD testing, both of which are in Kumamoto City (please update this page or inform the PAs of additional clinics, especially those outside the city); they are the Kumamoto Public Health Centers (houkenjo 呆健所) and the Suizenji Hifuka Iin (水前寺皮ふ科医院). 
Public Health Centers (houkenjo 保健所)
There are actually 5 clinics in Kumamoto city that do STD (including HIV) testing. The most centrally located is the Kumamoto City Public Health Center. This facility also has the best hours - weekdays from 9-12 and 1-5. (The other clinics are outposts of the main clinic, one each in the north, south, east, and west sections of the city and are only open one morning per week. [See Kumamoto HIV tests document]) The name of the central clinic in Japanese is Kumamoto-shi Hokenjo and it`s written 熊本市保健所 in kanji. 
Phone number: 096-364-3185
Address: 1-13-16 Kuhonji. 
Kuhonji is the section of Kumamoto City just across the Shirogawa river from downtown. The clinic is on the corner of Ginza Street and the first small road along the east bank of the river.  
Here is a link to a map (in Japanese):
The easiest tram stop is Kumamoto-jyo Mae (called that even though it’s not really in front of Kumamoto Castle) which is on the corner of Ginza Dori in downtown Kumamoto. Go up Ginza Dori toward the river and away from Gusto (the restaurant on stilts). Cross Rt. 3 and go under the overpass to get up onto the bridge ahead of you. The clinic will be the first building on your left on the other side of the bridge. There is a mess of wheelchair ramps leading up to the door so it`s pretty obvious when see it.
The Test:
You can be tested for HIV (simply HIV, or HIV uirusu), Chlamydia (kuramijia), and Syphilis (baidoku). They can do one blood test to check for all three. The test is free and you do not need an appointment.
As you enter the building (on the 2nd floor) there will be a telephone on your right. The number to dial for STD/HIV testing is 230. Once they answer just say HIV kensa, and they will understand. You will be asked to either go down to room 11 on the first floor or to wait a few minutes (if the room is in use), in which case they will probably ask you to sit and wait on the benches in the lobby and they will come up and get you when it is time. Or, there may be an attendant there when you enter the building and they will probably call for you and accompany you down to the room. Either way, the entrance and reception area of the building are very quiet and there aren’t many people around. So you shouldn’t worry about privacy being a problem, or about somebody hearing you when you use the phone.
Once you enter the room, the receptionist will fill out a simple form. The form includes the date, a place to write a number which matches the number on the vile that the blood sample will be put in, a place for you to write your age, and a place for you to put a nickname that you will use when you come back to get the results. The nickname can be anything (your initials, a pet’s name, a number, etc.). Once you have given this information you will be asked what you would like to be tested for..
The receptionist will then take your blood. When the receptionist has finished taking your blood he/she will tell you that you can come back in for the results once a week has gone by. You will not be able to receive the results any other way than in person - it will not be transferred to any third party or conveyed via phone or letter. 
*There is an incubation period of 8 weeks for the HIV virus, 6 weeks for Chlamydia and 4 weeks for Syphilis. (It actually might be 4 weeks for Chlamydia and 6 weeks for Syphilis.) This means that it may take up to 8 weeks from the possible exposure date for the HIV Virus to appear in your blood. So you should not go in for a test until it has been 8 weeks since the possible exposure date.
Other Information:
You will most likely have to take a day or partial day of leave from your school to come to into the city for the test and then again for the results. Most schools require a doctors note for sick leave, and if you don`t want to tell anyone at your school (which is completely your right) you will likely have to take paid leave or use some alternative time off.
Because the language barrier might make it difficult to receive the kind of counseling that goes along with HIV tests in other countries, you might consider calling the Japan HIV/AIDS line. It operates on Saturdays from 11:00-14:00 at (03) 5259-0256 (Tokyo#) and (0720) 43-4105 (Osaka#). They provide a safe, non-judgmental place to discuss any concerns you might have. They have trained telephone counselors who provide emotional support (pre and post HIV testing) as well as counseling, info, and referrals. In addition, you can always feel free to contact me. It is completely confidential - I will not ask for a name. My number at the office is 096-381-9210 and I am here until at least 5:30 every day
And just to give you a better idea of what will likely happen, here is a description of the process by another JET who has been through it before:
“The day of the test, I went in and the testing guy asked me a few questions in Japanese, which I didn't really understand, but he got across that I should come back in a minimum of one week for the results. The HIV test was indeed free. They ask you to write a "password" on a sheet of paper which you should bring back with you when you come to get your results. The guy stuck me with a needle, which I didn't even feel, and took a sample of my blood, assigning it a number which was also on my "password" sheet. The whole ordeal took about 15 minutes.
When I returned a week later, I showed the attendant the password form, and she immediately directed me downstairs to the testing room. A woman came in this time, and I handed her the form. I speak little Japanese, and she spoke little English, so to avoid all confusion, I drew a plus sign and a frowny face, and then a minus sign and a happy face, on a piece of paper which made the explanation process as simple as possible. She pointed to the happy face, and then said that everything was "daijobu" and smiled, showing me the results in Japanese, matching the number on my password paper to the number on the results. Getting the results actually took about 5 minutes total.”
Suizenji Hifuka Iin (水前寺皮ふ科医院)
熊本市水前寺2-19-3 (Kumamoto-shi Suizenji 2-19-3)
Tel: 096-382-4551
Hours: M-Sat 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., M, Tue, Thur, Fri 2-6 p.m.

The clinic is very close to Suizenji station.  It is a brown building with tinted windows at a five-street intersection.  It is across the street from the convenience store sankusu (サンクス) on one corner and a Higo Bank (肥後銀行) on another corner.  The Kita-suizenji (北水前寺) bus stop on the Aji4 (味4) line is directly in front of the clinic.



This clinic, unlike the houkenjo, is able to test for herpes, gonorrhea, genital warts and crabs in addition to HIV, syphilis and chlamydia.   

They see people on a first-come, first-served basis, and are pretty crowded on Saturdays.  Unlike other hospitals and clinics, they don't call people in the waiting room by name.  They assign each patient a number when they arrive and then call that number.  

It will take one week for test results to come back.  



Unlike the houkenjo, HIV/STD testing is not free at this clinic.  However, with national health insurance, the costs are reasonable.  We've heard that testing for all of the above mentioned STDs costs roughly ¥5000-6000 using health insurance.  


Additional Information:

This clinic is open on Saturdays, so if you're having trouble getting the time off of work, or if you don't wish to use nenkyuu you can come here instead of the houkenjo.  

There are no English-speaking staff at this clinic, but it's been reported that they happily work with patients who don't speak Japanese.  



HIV/STD testing Vocab and Phrases


Can I have the HIV test?


HIV kensa o uketai desu.



Other Tests

Chlamydia    クラミジア    kuramijia

Gonorrhea    淋病                rinbyou                     

Syphilis         梅毒                baidoku                    

Herpes          ヘルペス        herupesu



How much will the tests cost?                               How much is it all together?

検査はいくらですか。                                            全部でいくらですか。

kensa wa ikura desu ka.                                        zenbu de ikura desu ka.



When you ask this (or when you say what tests you would like), the clinic will probably explain that testing methods vary by STD.  The following are the different tests given:



Blood Test                 血液検査          ketsueki-kensa

Urine Test                  尿検査              nyou-kensa

“Discharge Test”       分泌物検査      bunpibutsu-kensa



Am I safe?


watashi wa daijoubu deshou ka.


(Test results)

Negative       陰性    insei

Positive         陽性    yousei


Can I have a copy of my results?


kekka no copii o moraemasu ka.



What should I do next?


kore kara watashi wa nani o sureba ii desu ka.


What are your recommendations?


sensei wa nani wo susumemasu ka.



Here are some other words/phrases that might come in handy.  It may also come in handy to take a J-E/E-J pocket dictionary or electronic dictionary with you if you have one.

Insurance Card                   保険証             hokenshou

Symptoms                           症状                 shoujou

City Health Center              保健所             hokenjo

False Positive                     偽陽性             giyousei