Lets Talk Getting Tested
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs) are very common, and are something you should not be embarrassed asking about. STD/STI testing isn’t always part of your regular checkup or gynecological exam.
Individuals who are engaging in sexual intercourse should be getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) sexually transmitted infections (STIs) routinely. STDs/STIs can show no symptoms and being tested is the only way to confirm an infection.
People can commonly be infected and unknowingly, and unwillingly, infect their partner. It is important to get tested because some STDs/STIs can cause serious health problems if not treated timely and effectively.
Be honest with your healthcare provider about your sex life so we can help you figure out which tests are best for you.
Here are some ways you can bring up STD/STI testing with your physician:
- I’ve never been tested for STDs/STIs. Do I need to be?
- Have you ever tested me for any STDs/STIs during my checkups?
- What STDs/STIs should I watch out for? How will I know if I need to get tested?
What to expect
STD/STI testing can be quick and easy. It involves visiting your physician and/or a health clinic. Blood and urine samples and swabs may be taken depending on the STD/STI. Others involve a visual examination for symptoms.
STD/STI testing may include:
There is no one test that covers all STDs/STIs.
- A urine test — you just pee into a cup.
- A cheek swab — you rub the inside of your cheek with a soft swab to test for HIV.
- A blood test — your medical assistant takes blood from your arm or a quick finger prick.
- A physical exam — your healthcare provider looks at your genital area to check for warts, sores, rashes, irritation, or discharge.
- Testing your sores — your healthcare provider takes a sample of fluid from any sores or blisters you have with a swab.
- Using a swab to gently take discharge or cell samples from your penis, vagina, urethra, cervix, anus, or throat.
Your physician may be able to tell right away if you have an STD/STI. However, some tests take a few days or weeks to come back from a lab. Wait to hear from your physician about your result before re-enaging in sexual activites.
I got my results. What do they mean?
What if I tested negative for an STD/STI?
If you get a negative test result, it means that the tests did not find an STD/STI.
However, there is a time period between when a person comes in contact with an STD/STI, and when the STD/STI will show up on a test. If the test is taken too soon after contact there is a chance that a test result is not accurate. You may be asked to come back to be retested after the window period is over or when you begin to show symptoms.
What if I tested positive for an STD/STI?
If you get a positive test result, it means that you have an STD/STI and need treatment. Being positive for contracting an STD/STI can be confusing and scary.
Luckily, most STDs/STIs can be easily cured with medication. Once treatment is finished you cannot spread the infection to any other sexual partners.
STDs/STIs that are not curable have symptoms that are manageable through treatments. Depending on the non-curable STD/STI there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and your partner. Medication and condoms can be used to help lower the risk of spreading the infection to your partner.