STD Testing at a Glance

You could be wondering if you need a test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or you might be wondering if your partner needs one. Or perhaps you are simply interested in learning more about STD testing. Whatever the reason may be, going to a STD clinic will be advantageous since they have all the necessary information you might ask about testing for STD.

STD testing is done through various ways. When you go to a STD clinic to be tested for STDs, they would start by asking you questions about your risk factors. After assessing what diseases you may be at risk for, they will test you for those conditions. Anyone with a new partner or multiple partners should be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea, but testing for other STDs is usually done at the health practitioner’s discretion.

Many private medical practitioners do not screen for sexually transmitted diseases unless you specifically ask them to do so. That is why it is better to go to a STD clinic since they offer STD tests and are solely dedicated to this task. Their services are confidential and 100% reliable. You must go to a STD testing center and ask your health care provider to give you an STD test. Some people assume they will be tested for STDs when they have an exam for another reason when they visit their doctors and this is entirely false. STD tests are only done upon request unless you are suffering grave symptoms already. Unfortunately, most STDs do not manifest symptoms until they are too late.

If you have symptoms of an STD, it’s important to be tested since you are not sure if the symptoms are of a STD or something else. Common symptoms of STDs include sores, discharge from the genitals, itching, and burning sensation during urination or sexual intercourse. However, on should remember that most infections often do not cause any symptoms. Going to an STD clinic and getting routinely tested is the surest way to diagnose if you have an STD or not.

There are a lot of STDs out there, and the types of STD treatment are as varied as their symptoms. Remember, however, if you think you have an STD, the only person who can tell you that confidently is your healthcare provider. Treatment is decided based on what STD you have and depending on what suits your needs the best. Going to STD clinics and getting tested and treated early can save you a great deal of pain later on.

For cases such as HIV, you should be tested at the first prenatal visit, and then again in the third trimester. Women who were not tested during the course of their pregnancy should be rapidly tested at the time of delivery. Syphilis should also be tested at the first prenatal visit and during the third trimester for high risk women only, and at the time of delivery. Go to a nearby STD testing site and ask for these STD tests when you are pregnant.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of STD Tests – What You Should Know About STD Testing

I feel that I have to start this article with a statistic that I found on American Journal of Medicine:

“More than half of all people will have an STD/STI at some point in their lifetime.” – American Journal of Medicine, 102(5A), 3-8.

The number one reason why STD can affect half of all people is because they’re often “silent.” Even if you’re infected, there could be no sign or symptoms. Different with what people said, I found that STD can be passed not only through sexual activity. It can be passed through skin contact, needles, or even breastfeeding.

This is why I feel that STD Testing is not only important, but mandatory to all person, especially women. Don’t you think so?

I wrote this article listing my feelings why STD test can be down right ugly. Also, an opinion on what kind of STD test that protects your privacy, money and time.

The UGLY side of STD Testing: Common STD Clinic Test Procedures

a.k.a the “Dreaded Clinic Visit”.

Although the tests are not that bad, a swab here and there, etc. But there’s one thing that I absolutely hate about going to the clinic to test it: the judging stares. Let’s face it STD test is mandatory, a regular thing, but people associate it with low-morale standards. Furthermore, there are these reasons too:

1. Embarrassment.

It’s not exactly comfortable if you stand in front of your doctor/lab technician/etc and say, “I need to get tested for STDs.”

2. It’s expensive.

A package of 7-10 STD test can cost up to $400. Not to mention, you have to consult to a doctor about the results, and that’s another $80-$200 depending on the doctor.

3. It’s a hassle to pick up the reports back to the lab.

And having to endure embarrassment all over again. Life sucks.

It’s no wonder that many people postponed their STD test. I know I feel the same way. There’s got to be another way!

The BAD side of STD Testing: DYI at Home STD Test Kits

a.k.a the “Collect Your Own Sample” STD Test.

There’s a lot of private services offer this at a good, affordable price. And because it’s at home, I feel safe because my privacy is protected. Maybe you think, “so what’s bad about it?” The result is not as accurate.

The only type of home-test that can be applied to STD is urine-based. My doctor said that urine testing, although is very accurate on some type of STDs, can be inaccurate with other type of STDs. Blood test can fill the gap that urine testing can’t do. This is not what I want. I want it to be accurate yet private.

So what’s the best type of STD test?

Testing For HIV Infection And The PEP Medication

HIV infected people feel healthy and well for a few years. But when their CD4 count severely drops, they begin to show signs of other diseases. These symptoms may include night sweats, oral thrush, sudden weight loss, swollen glands in the groin, armpit or neck, tiredness or endless diarrhea. Getting all or some of the above symptoms does mean you have HIV. It could be that you have another disease that needs the attention of the doctor.

A person who has developed the advanced HIV disease can also develop canker sores, pneumonia or tuberculosis. One point that people should note is that it is only a test that can reveal the truth about their HIV status. A home HIV test kit can be used by those of you who cannot see a healthcare expert directly. It can be ordered from an internet drug store and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

A blood test is the ordinary method of detecting HIV. A test detects whether you have antibodies that are produced by your body to fight HIV. It may also look for antigens, a form of protein located in the HIV cell. If you get tested not long after your most recent risk episode, a lot of antigens will be detected in your blood. Antigens stop being detectable after the first few weeks of getting infected. Antibodies take up to ninety days in your blood since the day of infection. There are tests that can detect both antigens and antibodies.

After testing yourself, you may get a positive or a negative result. Either way your results need to be confirmed at your local laboratory. The result can be out within one week. The oral HIV test kit is also very common. An infected person will have antibodies in their saliva that will be detected by this kit. Note that getting HIV from saliva is not a possibility. If the test finds antibodies in your saliva, the result will be positive. Do not settle for this positive result though.

You may take a blood test at the clinic to confirm your result. If you think you might have contracted this virus recently, you should still see a doctor. He or she can give you Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) medication. PEP stops HIV from replicating and spreading in your body, hence, reducing your odds of becoming HIV positive. If you are not a healthcare professional you will be given the non-occupational PEP. This type of PEP is given to someone who is exposed to HIV outside the workplace.

But you must show up quickly to begin medication within seventy-two hours of exposure to the virus. You will take two to three antiretroviral medications for a period of twenty-eight days. Nausea is to be expected as a side effect, although not all people will have it. Note that Post-Exposure Prophylaxis is not one hundred percent effective. It is now possible to purchase a HIV test kit in most developed countries. But there are trade marks you should look for to confirm that the product you want has gone through certain regulatory processes for safety.

Syphilis Testing – Why It Is Important to Test for Syphilis

Syphilis testing is important because it is easily spread and can be fatal, but can also be cured. Test for syphilis in order to take first step toward getting fast treatment.

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is classified as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) because it is most commonly spread through sexual contact. It is a bacterium that can cause serious health problems or even death if left untreated.

It lives in the body and has four (4) stages – primary, secondary, latent, and late. In its final stages, it can be fatal. Since it is a bacterium and not a virus, it can be cured with antibiotics in its early stages. Most doctors recommend penicillin. Other antibiotics can be prescribed for those that are allergic to penicillin. Syphilis testing with a blood sample is the only way to diagnose the infection.

How is it transmitted?

Most commonly, it is transmitted from person to person through sexual contact. People get it by coming in direct contact with a syphilis sore during oral, vaginal, or anal sex. It can also be passed during kissing if contact is made with an open sore. These sores can be located on the penis or in the vagina, mouth, or anus.

Sex is not the only way to contract this disease. A pregnant mother can pass it on to her children during childbirth causing the children to be infected.

It is recommended that all people who are sexually active get syphilis testing annually, and with every new partner. It is also recommended that expectant mothers test for syphilis during their pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of syphilis?

Many times people with syphilis will show symptoms but sometimes they will not. If symptoms are present, they will show up differently depending on the stage of the infection.

1) Primary – This stage occurs about 3 weeks after infection. During this time people may develop a small sore in the area where the bacteria entered the body. It can be located in or on the penis, vagina, anus, or mouth. Most people only get one sore, but it is possible to have several. It is usually painless and goes away in a few weeks. Many times it goes unnoticed.

2) Secondary – A few weeks after the first sore heals, a rash may develop. It starts on the body’s core (the area that covers the abdomen, sides, and back) and eventually spreads to the entire body, including the hands and feet. Sores may also develop in the mouth or genital area. The rash is usually not itchy and may be also come with flu like symptoms including fever, a sore throat, muscle aches, and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms may disappear in a few weeks, or they may come and go over the course of a year. Even if they do go away, it is important to test for syphilis.

3) Latent – This is when the syphilis infection is not treated and the above symptoms disappear. The bacteria is still living and thriving in the body at this time and can lie dormant (show no indications) for years.

4) Late – At this time, the bacteria can eat away at a person’s brain, organs, nerves, bones, and joints. This stage is when it becomes fatal.

This disease may or may not have indications. Syphilis testing tells a person if they are infected or not.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for contracting any STD, including syphilis. Practicing abstinence (not having sex at all) is the only way to avoid this risk completely.

An easy way to lower the risk is to properly use condoms during every sexual encounter. However although this can lower the risk, depending on where they are located, syphilis sores may not always be avoided by using a condom.

Research shows that those who engage in unprotected sex, those who have multiple partners, men who have sex with men (MSM), and those who are HIV positive are at an increased risk. Conversely, contracting syphilis also increases the risk of contracting HIV. It is smart to get tested for both.

Why is testing so important?

Syphilis testing is so important because when it is properly treated, it can be cured. If it is not treated, it can kill. Many times people do not know they are infected. Symptoms may not be present, or they may be inadvertently ignored.

It is recommended that everyone who is sexually active get a test for syphilis every year and with every new partner. Knowing your STD status and the STD status of your partner will help to reduce the risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases.

Where can I get a test?

There are thousands of local STD testing centers all over the U.S. offering STD testing for chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and syphilis. Syphilis testing can be ordered alone. However, physicians recommend getting a full panel STD test that includes all of them.