STD Testing

Last updated: February 20th, 2024

Couple standing near grey metal fence.
Honesty is key in all relationships. Photo by Toimetaja Tõlkebüroo on Unsplash.

STD testing, also known as STI testing is the testing for sexually transmitted diseases/infections. Whist the term STD gained popularity as a term, STI is preferred by a number of medical professionals. This is because the effects of sexually transmitted diseases aren’t always visible; showing no signs or symptoms which is one of the main reasons why STDs testing is so important.

STDs refers to a group of diseases transmitted through sexual contact. Infections can be passed from one infected person to another when participating in unprotected sex. STDs can also be transmitted in other ways such as sharing of needles.

Known STDs include:

  • Chlamydia
  • HPV
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Pubic lice
  • Primary Syphilis
  • HIV
  • Herpes

Some STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea, can be treated and cured with treatments such as antibiotics. Others, on the other hand, cannot be cured including HIV and herpes (however a measure of control is still offered).

Why get STD testing?

STDs that are not treated can lead to serious health issues including infertility, organ damage, and cancer. Moreover, many STDs present no symptoms at all or nondescript symptoms making them very hard to notice. This is why STD testing is important.

When should you get STD testing?

The need for STD testing will depend on a number of lifestyle choices you make. If you have multiple sex partners, then you are going to need to do testing more often, more so if those relationships are not mutually exclusive. You should also get tested if you’re starting a new relationship or engaging in sexual activity with a new partner.

If you notice any symptoms, you should also seek an STD test. Symptoms can include:

  • Bumps, sores, warts, or itching
  • Swelling or redness
  • Skin rash
  • Discharges
  • Bleeding
  • Pain during sex

Do remember that not all STDs show symptoms and as such you don’t need to wait for symptoms to show before seeking medical help.

STD testing procedure

Depending on the STD being diagnosed, tests can take different forms including urine samples, blood samples, swabs, or physical tests.

Blood and urine tests might not always be as effective, with certain infections taking weeks or months to show up in tests. Swabs are taken from different regions which can include vagina, cervix, or urethra depending on the test, and of course, the organs you carry.

Physical tests allow the doctor to look for visible symptoms such as warts, sores, and bumps. Physical tests might also require other tests so that a proper diagnosis can be carried out and treatment recommended.

It is important to be as open and honest as possible with your doctor so that any possible STDs can be diagnosed and treated.

Pharmacies providing STD testing

Clinics providing STD testing

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