One thing you should know is that if you’re sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship, you’re at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and should be screened. That also applies to people who are not experiencing any STD symptoms.
The majority of STDs—be it gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes tend to be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t cause symptoms. This is why a lot of people who have these STDs don’t know they have them.
If most STDs don’t cause symptoms, why should you worry about them? Apart from the pain, skin lesions, or other symptoms that may eventually show up, there is also the potential of you infecting your partner. you could infect your partner. And even if they are also asymptomatic, both of you could be at greater risk down the road for serious complications like arthritis, infertility, or some cancers—particularly cervical, anal, or throat cancers.
Furthermore, have it at the back of your mind that “sexually active” includes people who are having only oral—either giving or receiving. Syphilis, herpes simplex, gonorrhoea, and even chlamydia can all be transmitted by oral sex.
Okay, you get it, and you’re ready to be tested. Here are all the things you need to know about STDs testing process. exactly what you need to know about the process.
“Testing” is not the same as “screening”
While the terms are often used interchangeably, “testing” and “screening” are not quite the same thing. Testing is what your doctor does if you’re showing symptoms of an STD—like if you have sores on your genitals, which could be indicative of syphilis or herpes.
If you don’t have symptoms but your doctor decides your sexual activity warrants a check, that’s screening.
Different STDs—and kinds of sexual activity—can change the screening methods of your doctor
Unfortunately, a single blood or urine sample can’t be enough to tell your doctor if you have an STD. While syphilis and HIV require blood samples for screening, gonorrhea, Herpes and chlamydia may require either a urine screen, a throat swab, a rectal swab, or all three.
If you have a lesion, you’ll need a swab of the lesion for testing. If you don’t have a lesion, it’s a blood test. You may have to take a number of tests to ensure you’re STD free.
If you’re having unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex, each of those activities may require a different screening or testing method to check for an STD.
For instance, if you’re having unprotected oral and vaginal sex and your doctor is concerned about gonorrhoea, you need to take a urine test and have your throat swabbed. If you’re only taking a urine test for gonorrhea, your doctor may miss an infection in your throat.
This is important to note because a lot of patients are hesitant to tell their health care providers about their specific sexual habits and some physicians, too, are often embarrassed to ask about oral and anal sex. It’s important that your physician knows all your sites of exposure.
You’ll get your results quickly
It shouldn’t take much more than 48 hours to get your results. STD testing has become pretty quick due to medical advancement.
Urethra swabs are a thing of the past
There was a time when some STDs required men to stick a cotton swab inside their urethra or the hole in the tip of your penis. Fortunately, those days are behind us. Men found the urethra swab uncomfortable or scary, but now all those STD tests are urine based.
STD screening and testing could be free
A number of STD screening g and testing are free at certain places. Also, most cities and large towns offer free STD screening and testing resources routinely.
Any STD result you obtain through your doctor is protected by doctor-patient privacy laws, but your results could be saved. If you feel uncomfortable with that—or with talking to your physician about STDs—clinics that offer anonymous testing are a good alternative.
You don’t have to do anything before being screened
there is no need to avoid a particular food, drink or anything else before an STD screening. If you however need to give a urine sample, you will want to avoid peeing for 2 hours leading up to the “deposit.” “During these urine tests, laboratory scientists are on the look out for the DNA of the STD organism.
If you pee too close to your test, you’re clearing your urethra of that DNA build-up. For the same reason, you don’t want to pee a little into the toilet before collecting your sample. The urine in the beginning has the most DNA, and that is what is being tested.
You may have need for additional screening
While some STDs will show up right away, those that require blood tests (like HIV) may not appear on a test for two weeks or longer. Be sure to let your doctor know how recently you’ve had sex, and understand that you may have to come back in for more tests.