STD testing is very important and it is vital to understand how they work. Click here for some information about STD testing.
Every day, over 1 million sexually transmitted infections are acquired worldwide. And each year, there are 376 million infections acquired worldwide.
While there’s a lot of stigma around STDs, it’s clear that they’re much more common than people think and that everyone who is sexually active is susceptible to STDs.
While getting an STD certainly isn’t the end of the world, complications can arise if one is left untreated.
Therefore, if you’re sexually active, it’s very important that you undergo STD testing.
But, what exactly does STD testing entail?
Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about STD testing.
Should I Get Tested for STDs?
One very important thing to note about STDs is that most of the time, they have no symptoms. If you’ve had vaginal, anal, or oral sex, testing is the only way to know for sure if you have an STD.
STDs to Get Tested For
The STDS you get tested for will depend on your age, gender, lifestyle, and other factors. In general, you should follow these guidelines:
- If you’re between the ages of 13 and 64, you should be tested for HIV at least once
- If you’re a sexually active woman under the age of 25, you should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea once per year
- If you’re a woman over the age of 25 and have multiple partners or are having sex with a new partner, then you should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea once per year
- Sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested once per year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. If you have anonymous or multiple, partners, you should be tested every 3 to 6 months
- If you have unprotected sex or you share needles, you should be tested for HIV once per year
You should also get tested any time you have unprotected sex with a new partner, or if you find out that a partner has an STD.
If you experience any of these common STD symptoms, you should also be tested:
- sores or bumps around your genitals, butt cheeks, or thighs
- Unusual discharge from your penis or vagina
- A burning sensation when you pee or the urge to pee a lot
- Pain, itching or irritation around your penis, vulva, vagina, or anus
- Flu-like symptoms such as body aches, fever, swollen glands, and exhaustion
It’s important to note that these symptoms could also be infections that are not sexually transmitted, such as UTIs or yeast infections. The best thing to do is to talk to your doctor about your symptoms so you can figure out what kind of treatment you need.
While the idea of getting tested can be scary, most STDs can easily be treated with an oral antibiotic. So the sooner you have the test done, the faster you can regain your sexual health.
Plus, once you get tested, you can put your mind at ease.
Talk to Your Doctor
So, you’ve decided that it’s time to get tested for STDs, now what do you do?
First things first, schedule an appointment with your doctor/gynecologist. It’s important to keep in mind that STD testing is not a part of a regular checkup, so you’ll need to ask to have it done.
In order to figure out the right tests for you, you need to be honest about your sex life. While talking about STDs with a stranger may feel awkward, remember, your doctor has seen and heard it all, so you shouldn’t feel embarrassed.
Testing is the responsible thing to do, and your doctor will be happy that you’re taking the right steps to ensure that you’re sexually healthy.
During your visit, you may need to disclose the kinds of sex you have, how often you use protection, any symptoms you’re experiencing, and if you or your partner has had an STD before.
Again, this will help your doctor figure out what tests to order, so make sure that you’re open and honest.
How Does Testing Work?
The type of test you take will depend on what STDs you’re being tested for. However, every single STD test is simple and painless, so you have nothing to worry about.
Here’s what your testing may include:
- A urine test: In other words, you’ll pee in a cup
- A cheek swab: This is used to test for HIV
- A blood test: A doctor or nurse can either prick your finger or take blood from your arm
- A physical exam: A doctor will inspect your genital area and check for sores, warts, rashes, discharge, irritation, and other signs of STDs
- A doctor will sometimes swab your genital area for discharge in order to test for STDs
Most tests take only a few days to get back, but some can take several weeks. Some clinics even offer rapid testing, in which you can get results back in as little as 20 minutes.
What to Do if You Find Out You Have an STD
If you find out that you have an STD, you may feel upset, embarrassed, or mad. The important thing to remember is that while it’s very important to practice safe sex, you’re not alone and you shouldn’t feel any shame.
When you get an STD, the best thing to do is to follow your doctor’s directions for treating it. And, although it can be tough, you need to tell any recent partners about your STD. This way, they can get tested and treated too.
As we said earlier, most STDs are easily cured with medication, which means the sooner you get tested and treated, the sooner you can move on with your life.
If you have an STD that can’t be cured, it’s still important to know that this isn’t a life sentence, as there’s medication out there that can help you manage the symptoms of your STDs. There are also support groups you can join and counselors you can talk to if you’re struggling with your diagnosis.
Are You Ready for STD Testing?
As you can see, STD testing is a quick and painless process that’s essential for your overall health.
If you have any questions about STD testing, please comment below. And, contact us today if you need STD testing done.