Staying Healthy With Regular STD Testing
There are a few different types of STD testing currently in use, each of which screens for different types of infections. Blood tests, which are used to identify diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, and herpes are among the most commonly issued tests, and should be sought out by any sexually active individual regularly when switching partners. Urine tests and physical exams may also be used by your physician or local clinic, and can screen for gonorrhea and lice. If you are worried about specific types of infections, do share this information with your doctor so that he or she may select the appropriate tests.
These tests are rarely included as part of a standard physical or exam, so patients must be proactive about getting tested. When asking for a test, prospective patients should be prepared to share some personal information about their activity, including the number of partners that they have had, what type of protection they use, and if they have experienced any pain, itching or rashes in the area. Being honest in these interviews will help ensure that you get the proper attention, and will help your doctor find any infections to which you may have been exposed.
Patients without insurance do not need to go without STD testing. Clinics that offer free tests, or tests that are priced on a sliding scale by income, exist in almost all areas. Most of these health institutions see patients on a walk-in basis, though appointments might be available as well. The staff at these clinics are all medical professionals who are skilled at giving you the care they need, and many do accept insurance plans, prescribe birth control, and conduct general pelvic exams as well.
There are not tests for all STDs. Two common STDs for which there are no tests include human papillomavirus. In addition, not all doctors run the same series of STD tests, so it is possible to get a clear result from the doctor and still infect a partner.
The only positive way known to fully protect humans from a STD is to practice abstinence, however those who have made the decision to become sexually active who are not in relationships that are mutually monogamous will need to be tested regularly in order to remain healthy.
STD testing for women
For women who are over 21 or within three years after first intercourse a woman should have a Pap test. This test looks for precancerous changes or cancer of the cervix. The common STD HPV can cause cervical cancer in women. If the woman is under twenty-five, she should also be tested for Chlamydia.
STD testing For men
The guidelines for men who do not have sex with other men do not recommend men have regular STD testing unless symptoms are present. Men who are involved with other men should have an annual test for gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis and HIV. Untreated syphilis and HIV may both be life threatening. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are STDs that increase the risk of catching HIV or other STDs.
One of the disadvantages of testing at home is that there are more false positives from the tests. The STD test may indicate that the person has a disease that he or she does not really have. If the test you take at home returns a positive result, it is important to see a health professional for confirmation and if necessary, treatment.