STD Check – STD Testing – Sexually Transmitted Infections Screening

STD testing is important for anyone who is currently sexually active or had been in the past one year. STDs are common and one should not be embarrassed to get tested. There are many sexually transmitted diseases you can be exposed to, and some of these are curable while others can only be managed.

A comprehensive STD test will allow you to test for may STDs in a single session that include HIV, Chlamydia, Oral and Genital Herpes, Gonorrhea Syphilis and Hepatitis.

Many STDs show no symptoms and you can be infected without knowing unless you are screened regularly. Early detection and treatment is the key to ensuring your sexual health.

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STD Statistics

  • More than 50% of the global population will have an STD or sexually transmitted infection over their lifetime. This means more than one out of every two people around the world will experience this problem.
  • In the USA only one third of physicians routinely screen patients for common sexually transmitted diseases, and this percentage is even lower in many other countries.
  • Approximately 15% – 20% of infertility cases are caused by an undiagnosed and untreated sexually transmitted infection.
  • 75% of women and 50% of men who are infected with chlamydia will not experience any symptoms.
  • Approximately 30% of women and 10% of men who have gonorrhea do not have any symptoms.
  • 45 million people around the world over the age of 14 years old have a Herpes Simplex 2 infection.

STD Screening: Who Should Go For An STD Test?

If you are sexually active then you should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Even if you use protection during every sexual encounter this type of testing should be strongly considered at least once a year.

STD SymptomsSTD Affects Everyone. Get Tested. Be Sure!

For couples who are in a long term monogamous relationship, each should be tested at least once to ensure that there are no STDs found. After the initial testing and if the results are negative, further screening may not be required, as long as there are no additional sexual partners for either person in the relationship.

If you have multiple partners or have engaged in unprotected sex even one time then you should be tested.

Each individual will have different risk factors involved, so the testing guidelines for who should be tested and what STDs to test for may be different in each case. If you have never been tested for STDs and sexually transmitted infections then you should arrange to get screened if you have ever had sex.

How Does One Get Tested for STDs?

The STD test procedure varies, depending on which infection or disease the test is used to diagnose. A urine sample that is analyzed in a laboratory can identify certain sexually transmitted infections and other diseases. A blood sample is another method used. Certain STDs will be diagnosed when your blood is analyzed in a lab if specific STD testing is ordered.

Scrapings from your reproductive organs and other areas may be taken and examined under a microscope. The areas scraped or swabbed can include the mouth, cervix, vaginal canal, penis, or anus. Any lesions may also have a sample taken for a lab exam. Women may have a Pap smear taken and a HPV test done as well. The specific testing method used will be determined by the STDs suspected.

Where Can You Get An STD Test?

There are a number of physicians and local clinics that offer STD testing. You can ask your family physician to test you for any STDs that you may be at risk for. Planned Parenthood clinics and similar reproductive health clinics usually offer testing for STDs as well, and many have a sliding pay scale based on your income.

Local health departments are another location where you can get an STD test. Every community has a local health department that offers health services, and these services typically include screening and testing for sexually transmitted infections. These providers will also accept private insurance and offer a sliding fee scale if your income is low.

Home STD test kits are another way that you can get tested for common STDs. Many individuals prefer this method because there is no embarrassment or concerns about confidentiality. Most of these home test kits use an anonymous number when the sample is tested instead of your name. This method allows complete confidentiality, and not even the lab doing the testing will have your personal information.

Which STD Tests Do You Need?

The specific STDs that you should be tested for will depend on your lifestyle, sexual behavior, number of partners, age, and numerous other factors. An annual screening for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea is recommended for sexually active women under 25, women over 25 who are at risks for STDs, and men who engage in sexual relations with other men.

STD TestingIf you are an IV drug user, a man who has sex with other men, or have been diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia then you should also be tested for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis. These tests should be performed yearly if you have more than one sexual partner. If any unusual lesions are found on the body especially around the mouth or private parts area, then you should be tested for genital herpes or yeast infection.

Women over the age of 30 should be tested for HPV whenever a pap smear is performed if they are at risk for this viral infection. Women under age 30 are not typically tested because this infection is common in the younger age group. Testing for a yeast infection and trichmoniasis should be done if you have any symptoms of these infections.

How Are STD Tests Done?

Although STD testing can be done using a number of methods a diagnosis is always made in a lab. A sample is taken from you, and this sample may be urine, blood, or scrapings from a lesion or specific body part. In a home test you will simply provide the sample requested and mail it to the laboratory specified in the test. Samples taken at a clinic, health department, or doctor’s office will be sent to the lab by the nurse who takes the sample.

Once the sample has been received by the lab it will be analyzed by a technician who will look at the sample closely under a microscope. This step will help identify any organisms responsible for common STDs that are being tested for.

The sample you provide may also be tested for antibodies. Certain STDs including HIV are caused by a virus. Your immune system will create specific antibodies when you are exposed to certain organisms including viruses. If testing identifies these antibodies then you have been exposed to the STD.

How Long Does It Take To Get Results?

The time it will take for you to get the results of any STD testing can vary. Usually results are available anywhere from 1-3 days after sample for testing is taken. HIV and certain other STDs may have a longer incubation period, and this can prevent the disease from being detected for a longer time. HIV may not be detected for up to 4-12 weeks after you have been exposed. Common bacterial STDs will normally be detected within 3-5 days of the initial infection.

The STD test cost and the lab used will also help determine how long it takes to get your results back. Local doctors, clinics, and health departments usually use a local lab, and this can speed up the process by a day or two in some cases. Home STD kits may require an additional day or two for the sample to reach the lab and this can delay the results.

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STD Testing Quick Reference Guide

HIV

  • A sample of your blood will be drawn. This sample will be examined for antibodies from the virus that causes this infection.
  • An oral swab is used to take a sample from your mouth. This swab is tested for HIV antibodies in a lab.

Chlamydia

  • You provide a urine sample. This urine sample is analyzed by a lab.
  • A swab of the cervix or inside of the penis is taken, and this swab is examined by a lab.

Genital Warts

  • Your doctor will examine any visible warts. A scraping may be taken to be analyzed in the lab.
  • A solution may be applied so that any warts are more visible.
  • For women a pap smear and HPV test will be performed.

Gonorrhea

  • You provide a urine sample. This urine sample is analyzed by a lab.
  • A swab of the cervix or inside of the penis is taken, and this swab is examined by a lab.

Herpes

  • A scraping from any blisters or lesions is taken. This scraping is sent to the lab for examination and diagnosis. This test can be inconclusive.
  • A sample of your blood will be drawn. This sample will be examined for antibodies from the virus that causes this infection. This test can be inconclusive.

Hepatitis

  • A sample of your blood will be drawn. This sample will be examined for antibodies from the virus that causes this infection.

HPV

  • A tissue sample is scraped from your cervix during a pelvic exam. This sample is examined for the Human Papillomavirus.

Syphilis

  • A sample of your blood will be drawn. This sample will be examined for the bacteria that causes this infection.
  • If you have any genital sores a swab will be taken from these sores. The swab is examined in a lab.

Trichmoniasis

  • You provide a urine sample in a sterile container. This urine sample is analyzed by a lab.
  • A cervical or penile swab is taken, and this swab is examined by a lab for the parasite that causes this disease.

Yeast Infection

  • A sample of any discharge from your penis or vagina is collected. The lab examines this sample to determine the organism responsible.
  • A blood test may show up certain antibodies caused by the yeast responsible. This test may not be reliable unless you have a systemic infection though.

STD testing is essential if you are sexually active. Don’t delay; get tested today for your health and your peace of mind.